Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive
Author: Stephanie Land
Narrator: Stephanie Land
Published: January 22, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 17-24, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
“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 by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.
While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of overworked and underpaid Americans.
Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes. With this book, she gives voice to the “servant” worker, those who fight daily to scramble and scrape by for their own lives and the lives of their children.
Stephanie Land’s memoir is written and narrated by the author. I enjoyed that I was really hearing her personal story first hand in her own voice. Land shows us the hard life of a single mom and the hard work she put in to take care of her daughter. It also shows how difficult it can be to even get assistance from government programs, let alone to stay on them.
Most of the memoir focuses on her job as a maid and cleaning others’ houses. It made me think about the people who clean our hotel rooms and that they may experience similar life difficulties. (I can’t picture maids who clean homes, as we would never be able to afford one!) I hate to say it was ‘enjoyable’ to read about her working in the people’s homes. What I did not like at all was when she described putting on women’s expensive jackets and going through their personal things. How invasive and wrong!
The memoir has a happy ending, and I think it was the love of her daughter that kept her going through the very difficult times she faced. This memoir leaves you thinking about many things, including not judging someone until you have walked in their shoes, which Land lets us do as she shares the story of her life as a maid.