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Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  23,373 ratings  ·  3,151 reviews
Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

"My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter."

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work--primarily done
Hardcover, First, 270 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Hachette Books
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Page Wouldn’t the 19 year old be best positioned to determine what’s right for him or her?
Daphne Forwards are generally done gratis, out of friendship and/or mutual respect. I doubt Ehrenreich--who's work on class in America I consider essential…moreForwards are generally done gratis, out of friendship and/or mutual respect. I doubt Ehrenreich--who's work on class in America I consider essential reading-- gets a nickel or dime. ;)(less)

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 ·  23,373 ratings  ·  3,151 reviews

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Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is going to garner a range of reactions when it’s published. What this book does well is illuminate the struggles of poverty and single-motherhood, the unrelenting frustration of having no safety net, the ways in which our society is systemically designed to keep impoverished people mired in poverty, the indignity of poverty by way of unmovable bureaucracy, and people’s lousy attitudes toward poor people. When she writes about her circumstances, Land’s prose is vivid and engaging. Her ...more
C.J. Maughan
Jan 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Hooooooooo boy was this one frustrating. I almost gave up multiple times because it made me so angry, but let's just start at the beginning.

I got this from Book of the Month. On their description it wasn't exactly clear that this was a nonfiction read (they may have changed it since). So I had VERY different expectations upon opening this book up and was very disappointed to see that it was not fiction. But, hey, I'm cool, I like nonfiction and so I set that all aside and figured it would still
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok

Going into this book, I so badly wanted to come out rooting for Stephanie Land, but I keep coming back to that quote above and cannot wrap my head around what should be “surprising” about her story. As a college educated woman who works for one of the largest companies in the world, if I worked 25 hours a week it would not be enough to pay my bills either. Is there a larger theme I’m missing that
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Stephanie Land didn’t experience the best start in life, well not when it comes down to the most important thing for a child - love. Neither parent seemed to have much of it to give, in fact they present themselves as extremely selfish individuals. Stephanie finds herself pregnant and in an abusive relationship, which should herald the end of her dreams of going to college, but this is one thing that she will try desperately to hang onto.

We accompany Stephanie and her daughter Mia, as they
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY 2019! what will happen?


fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #14: A book of social science

this one might be more memoir than social science, but it's ehrenreich-approved and that's good enough for me!!


okay, so i would say this is definitely more memoir than social science, but i went into it with good
Diane S ☔
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wish I could have climbed into these pages and given this young woman a hug! Nineteen pregnant, she leaves an abusive relationship. When her daughter is born she is a single mother with few resources and very little support. This is a honest, down to earth, telling of her story trying to manuver through a system that is stacked against her. She is a hard worker and takes the only job she can get, while still taking care of her daughter, and taking online classes in a effort to provide for a ...more
Linda Hutchinson
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
This won’t be popular but I found this book, “Maid,” supremely irritating. The pitch was whiny, judgmental, and jealous. This may come off as harsh but some life situations are made from bad choices. Some from just bad luck. But to begrudge anyone else a bit of happiness because your life is hard was just poor taste. I admire Stephanie Land’s work ethic...but, I didn’t think her writing was strong and the details were repetitious. There is a limit as to how many times I want to read an ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
j e w e l s
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio

I saw Stephanie Land, the author, on my hometown local morning television show. I was struck by her sincerity, her soft voice, and her courage in “outing” herself as a single mother struggling to survive in poverty.

Land’s memoir begins with her unexpected pregnancy by a new boyfriend at age 28. The boyfriend is more than a jerk and Land gets away from him once he becomes violent. Without any family help that she could count on, Land lives with her baby daughter in a homeless shelter
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
In Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, we meet Stephanie Land, a single mom to her daughter, Mia, trying to keep a roof over their heads and maintain some form of stable life. This is easier said than done as Stephanie is met with numerous challenges including little support from her family, Mia’s father, and other relationships, as well as multiple jobs with low paying wages that rarely allow those performing them to get ahead.

A few years ago I read Evicted, which I
Feb 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is TERRIBLE. I cannot understand why it's being compared to “Nickeled and Dimed” or “Evicted”, both of which are well written, researched and coherent. But this? It’s nothing but a 200+ page Go-Fund-Me rant. The writing is also very poor, alternating between pretentious and sloppy ("off of" is not a synonym for “from”, for God's sake).
Which was disappointing, as I was very interested in reading Stephanie Land's story & experiences. I was a single mother as a teenager. I know
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3+ stars

Maid has an important message and I have a lot of respect and sympathy for Stephanie Land, but I didn’t love reading her book. In her late 20s, Land found herself coming out of an abusive relationship as the single mother of a toddler. She had very few financial options, so she took what help she could from government assistance and started working as a maid. Her book is a memoir of the three or four years she struggled to support herself and her daughter before finding a way to get into
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
First, this book is most certainly NOT in the category of Evicted, one of the most well-researched, measured and thoughtful books published on the subject of chronic poverty in America.

I wanted to like this book, and feel that the subject matter is critically important to expose and discuss. Yet...I just didn't. There's a kind of immaturity about the book (and frankly, many of the author's actions) that grated, especially the flip-flopping between envy and judgment of the middle class families
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I saw this book described as "Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed", I knew I had to read it. They are two terrific books in my opinion. I can't say
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive
was as good as those but I still enjoyed it.

Stephanie Land became homeless when she decided to take her young child and leave an abusive relationship. The book narrates her struggles to rise out of poverty and provide a decent life for her daughter. She details the feelings of shame and
This is one book that I’ve grappled with in trying to write a review. There are a few conflicting impressions that I’ve turned over in my mind, causing me to question why I feel as I do about the story. I thought about just giving a glossed-over review, focusing only on what I appreciated (and there was a lot to appreciate) about this account of a young, single mother’s struggle to survive and raise her child. I wanted to be generous, but I finally decided to just write the review to include ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoirs
Land reveals the secrets of maids: that feeling of knowing a house, sensing the energy within, and the lives that are lived there...We know more about you then you think but most maids will never resort to pilfering through your things at all. We were never allowed to open up anything, cupboards or closets. If a door was shut, there was a reason. And we were totally talking about you when we got back to the car, and in the office before we left. Sounds terrible, but it's how we got through the ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
"Poverty was like a stagnant pool of mud that pulled at our feet and refused to let go." from Maid by Stephanie Land

I'll be brutally honest, and you can "unfollow" me if you want, I don't care, but ever since Presidents Roosevelt and Johnson created social programs to help the poor there have been politicians determined to slash, limit, and end them. And one of their methods is to vilify the poor as blood-sucking, lazy, ignorant, "self-entitled" criminals who live off the hard earned tax dollars
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, reviewed
In “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” debut author Stephanie Land narrates her drastic and desperate story of survival as a single mother raising her daughter in Washington state—the home of Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. The “indolent poor” are often blamed for their condition: accused of draining tax dollars from government "entitlements" and paltry SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits that seldom (or minimally) cover a grocery bill. Wealthy policy makers debate ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. Where do I start? This is basically a book of a woman complaining "woe is me", throwing herself a pity party. She blames everyone else for her problems and doesn't accept any responsibility for her terrible decisions. First of all, this book promised what it didn't deliver. From the Amazon description: "Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them." Nope. There is no glimpse at "upper-middle" class ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2019
I really enjoyed this! If you read “Evicted” (highly recommend), this is along the same lines, but in a first person perspective on how difficult it is - damn near impossible - to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Land is a single parent with no back-up support she can count on for financial or emotional support. She has dreams of being a writer, but dreams don’t pay the bills. Neither does cleaning other peoples’ houses, apparently. Land shares plenty of details on the houses she cleans and
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, poverty
"If you're rich, you might want to stay that way. It's a whole lot cheaper than being poor."
-Barbara Ehrenreich

" But shame is a verb as well as a noun. Almost nobody arrives at shame on their own:
there are shamers and shamees...... In fact, it may be wiser to think of shame as a relationship
rather than just a feeling-- a relationship of domination in which the mocking judgments
of the dominant are internalized by the dominated. Shaming can be a more effective means
of social control than
Is this book supposed to be surprising? Eye-opening? It's by a lady who gets pregnant from an abusive relationship and then she has to clean houses and wrangle with government assistance programs to make ends meet. Like 1 million other ladies. I don't get it.
Julie Christine
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
My mother once told me that her greatest fear was to end up homeless, a so-called "bag lady." I, a short-sighted, selfish teenager, just rolled my eyes, but even then the thought of her vulnerability chilled me.

I'm older now that she was when she made this confession, and her fear has become mine. Because I have seen, and experienced first-hand, how one decision, one misstep, can cause the dominoes of disaster to fall around you.

“I knew that at any moment, a breeze could come and blow me away.
Valerity (Val)
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

Stephanie Land didn’t have it easy. She was a single mom who worked hard cleaning other people’s houses, working in their yards, doing whatever she had to in order to feed herself and her daughter, Mia. This was after she found herself homeless when the father of her daughter kicked them out. It’s not like she felt she could ask her folks for help, no way. She found that government help for housing wasn’t easy to stomach, left them with no
Cassidy Green
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I was raised by a single mother with two kids after fleeing horrific abuse. We were on government assistance and food stamps, and I was on free or reduced lunch all the way through my adolescent years. My GED holding mother worked early mornings, late nights, and took every opportunity afforded to her. She worked as a waitress, at construction sites, as a water truck driver. Anything to support us.

By every stretch of the imagination, I should have DEEPLY connected
Jennifer Blankfein
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Maid is the story of one woman’s survival living below the poverty line and working hard to rise above and provide for her daughter. Follow Book Nation by Jen for all reviews and recommendations.

Everyone has a story and it is possible that Stephanie Land’s is not all that unique. That is the importance of her telling us about her job as a Maid, her strength and persistence to support herself and her daughter while bringing to light the challenges so many people living in poverty are faced with
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
*I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway*

I really thought I was going to like this book. As someone who was raised by a bad a** single mother, who fought her way up in the world, I thought I would really relate to this story. It didn't happen.

Despite the seriousness of the topic - I just couldn't muster up much sympathy for her. Which seems insane. How could I not feel for her? Here's why:

"Living with illness or pain was part of my daily life. But why did my clients have these problems? It
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked the vivid accounts of what it was like to live in poverty. I think too few people understand that someone can be very hard working and do everything possible and still be poor. We judge people who are poor as bad people who make poor decisions when it's actually just luck and circumstances much of the time.

The thing that bothered me about the account is that she does see herself as different than the regular poor and cannot believe that she is one
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh, so glad this is done. I really should have just abandoned it.

Stephanie Land is a really hard worker and I appreciated the glimpse into what life as a single mom living in poverty is like. It's not my personal experience so it is good to put myself into someone else's shoes for a little while. It did help me see how hard it is to pull yourself out despite the government assistance (that apparently is not that great). It made me think about single moms that I know and wonder what they
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
It took me awhile to figure out what troubled me so much about this book. Stay with me.

Please understand that I'm politically quite far to the left of center. I believe that social services in the US are woefully, horribly inadequate. No one in the USA should wake up hungry or sick with nowhere to turn. While our country offers much in the way of opportunity, it is all too easy to crash and burn. Also, please understand also that I personally take nothing for granted. I wake up every morning in
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
SCPL Online NonFi...: Wrap Up 1 3 Oct 01, 2019 01:50PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Home, Poverty, and Prejudice 1 8 Sep 27, 2019 01:06PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Bad Luck or Poor Choices? 1 27 Sep 20, 2019 01:51PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Family 1 8 Sep 14, 2019 06:30AM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Making a Living 1 9 Sep 11, 2019 02:43PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Welcome 3 13 Sep 03, 2019 05:43PM  

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Stephanie Land is the instant bestselling author of "MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive." Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and many other outlets. Her writing focuses on social and economic justice. Follow everywhere @stepville or
“Every single parent teetering on poverty does this. We work, we love, we do. And the stress of it all, the exhaustion, leaves us hollowed. Scraped out. Ghosts of our former selves. That’s how I felt for those few days after the accident, like I wasn’t fully connected to the ground when I walked. I knew that at any moment, a breeze could come and blow me away.” 3 likes
“I felt like sitting down meant I wasn't doing enough--like the sort of lazy welfare recipient I was assumed to be. Time lounging to read a book felt overly indulgent; almost as though such leisure was reserved for another class. I had to work constantly. I had to prove my worth for receiving government benefits.” 3 likes
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