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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  3,015 ratings  ·  623 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, 288 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Hachette Books
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Popular Answered Questions
Page Wouldn’t the 19 year old be best positioned to determine what’s right for him or her?
Terri I don't understand your question? is about some of her choice words? seriously that's being judgmental, and there was very few in the book.

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,015 ratings  ·  623 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
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 attem

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 intentions, and it's too close to the end of the year* for me to be a stickler for reading challenge precision. if the bookriot police wanna
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 bett ...more
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 reall
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
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 mandato ...more
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
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
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
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
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 wha ...more
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.
Kate Olson
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - audiobook format

I had been waiting for this book since I first read about it in the Publisher's Weekly announcements issue back in June 2018, and I preordered it from Audible. THAT'S how excited I was! "Nickel & Dimed" and "Evicted" are two of my favorite nonfiction reads, and I was somewhat expecting this to be in the same category. It's not, though, which I'm fine with, just surprised.

I was sucked into Stephanie's story and felt such compassion for her throughout the book - I w
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Meghan Maclean Weir

Cleaning houses and practicing medicine both involve a fair amount of piss and vomit. That’s why, while reading Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid, I often found myself thinking, I know exactly what that smells like. I’m a pediatrician. Land, during the period described in this book, was primarily a house cleaner. In both these jobs, you catch glimpses of other people’s lives, their messiness, their vulnerability and suffering. You help the best you can. You worry i
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
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh this is powerful! It spoke to my human and social worker heart. This will make you think twice about cultural stereotypes surrounding single motherhood and about use of government aid. I wanted to high five Land so many times. I’ve watched clients, close family members, and myself wrestle with these exact hardships and this broken, punitive system. Glad to have a well-written book to put this out there.
Vicki (kybookgirl)
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thanks-netgalley
Great non fiction by @stepville with so many similarities as a single mother that I often felt that I could’ve written it myself. Biggest difference is that I had a supportive family. This book is a story of survival, motherhood, the welfare system and the American working poor. In a country of plenty like the US, the working poor are marginalized for not being ambitious enough or being lazy. It is shocking to read how strangers treated Stephanie for using public assistance to help her provide f ...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 exhaustiv ...more
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 seeme
Stephanie Land has never stopped advocating for herself. As a young single mother escaping an abusive relationship with no help from her family, she found herself homeless and jobless. Her daughter took her first steps in a homeless shelter. Once she was eligible for housing, she had to endure constant surveillance, degrading lectures on energy efficiency, and no visitors. Once she found employment as a maid, she worked for less than minimum wage, exposed herself to injury without paid time off ...more
Patty Smith
Many thanks to NetGalley, Hachette Books, and Stephanie Land for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.

Stephanie Land has written a raw, honest, in-your-face book about what it is like to be poor, a single mother and working at what is considered to be menial labour. I found this read difficult and uncomfortable and I think that is what she wants you to feel. As I started to read, I was sympathetic, feeling for her plig
La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt
I am so happy I got approved for this on Netgalley because there sure are some whiney pissed-off middle class white privileged ladies with their panties all in a bunch below in the reviews; all buzzing like bees because this author was feeling sorry for herself sometimes in her story. Imagine that... being a single poor and homeless mother having to slave cleaning other people's messes, and feeling sorry for yourself. How dare she. The suburban pumpkin spice Feminists need to get their heads out ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This well-written memoir is a prime example as to why I love the genre. Reading about other people’s experiences helps us to better understand and empathize. Stephanie Land placed her college plans on hold as she unexpectedly became pregnant; a single mom with little support, living in poverty. She struggled daily to provide for herself and her daughter working as a house cleaner and landscaper, filling the gaps with government assistance. She’s a fighter and survivor and her story is one worth ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maid by Stephanie Land provides a startling look into what it's like to be a hard-working single mom on minimum wage. 

Maid was an absolutely wonderful read! I connected with this book on so many different levels. My parents didn't have a lot of money growing up, and I remember the days when my parents had to use food stamps just to buy the basics for us to eat. They were embarrassed. They hated it. But they had no choice. Stephanie Land's memoir dives deep into this world, and honestly, it was a
Stephanie Hall
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Advance reading copy provided by Hatchette.

I wish I could say I enjoyed this book as much as I hoped to when I first received it. This story is so important because it will open the eyes of so many people to the struggles of others living in poverty, particularly single mothers and domestic abuse survivors.

However, I had so many issues with the author that I really couldn't connect to her and her story. A main theme of this book was trying to stop the judgment that gets thrown at people on gove
Kasa Cotugno
Stephanie Land admits she's made mistakes, but the one constant she's had for the past ten years -- her unwavering love for her daughter, Mia. Upon discovering she is pregnant, she discards her dream of moving to Missoula Montana and pursuing a degree as a writer. The following five years, well documented here, find her moving from various homes without much help from a family ill equipped to provide any, and despite a history of scoliosis, working as a house cleaner, which requires more diligen ...more
Marianne Kaplan
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Rarely do I not finish a book. This is one of them. Could not relate to the author nor to her story. Have read many tales of people down on their luck trying to make it back, and I had compassion in each instance. In this book, I did not feel particularly compassionate about the author or her story, sorry to say.
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 o
Maria Li
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I liked it at times. But other times I felt it was overly whiny. Yes life is difficult, especially in the author’s situation, but that doesn’t mean not taking responsibility for your actions, whether it’s the decision to postpone college, or to have a child while financially unstable, everyone chooses their own path. I found myself wondering over and over again what the other people in her life would say about her book. Would her babydaddy agree with her depict ...more
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Stephanie Land is the author of MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, Guardian; Vox, Salon, and many other outlets. She focuses on social and economic justice as a writing fellow through both the Center for Community Change and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. She lives in Misso ...more