BARACK OBAMA'S SUMMER READING PICK, 2019. BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK.
Educated meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid. A beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in the western world. Includes a foreword by international bestelling author Barbara Ehrenreich.
'My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.'
As a struggling single mum, determined to keep a roof over her daughter's head, Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, working long hours in order to provide for her small family. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today's inequitable society.
As she worked hard to climb her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labour jobs as a cleaner whilst also juggling 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 the overworked and underpaid.
Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of the upper-middle classes 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.
'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... Land's prose is vivid and engaging... [A] tightly-focused, well-written memoir... an incredibly worthwhile read.'
ROXANE GAY, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger: A Memoir
'Marry the evocative first-person narrative of Educated with the kind of social criticism seen in Nickel and Dimed and you'll get a sense of the remarkable book you hold in your hands. In Maid, Stephanie Land, a gifted storyteller with an eye for details you'll never forget, exposes what it's like to exist in America as a single mother, working herself sick cleaning our dirty toilets, one missed paycheck away from destitution. It's a perspective we seldom see represented first hand - and one we so desperately need right now. Timely, urgent, and unforgettable, this is memoir at its very best."
SUSANNAH CAHALAN, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
'We need more books like Maid, with the view from behind the fridge and under the couch. Stephanie Land has something to teach us about both sides of the inequality divide. Neither is what you are expecting.'
BARBARA EHRENREICH, international bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed
'As a solo mom and former house cleaner, this brave book resonated with me on a very deep level. We live in a world where the solo mother is an incomplete story: adrift in the world without a partner, without support, without a grounding, centering (male) force. But women have been doing this since the dawn of time, and Stephanie Land is one of millions of solo moms forced to get blood from stone. She is at once an old and new kind of American hero. This memoir of resilience and love has never been more necessary.'
DOMENICA RUTA, New York Times bestselling author of With or Without You
'Stephanie Land's heartrending book, Maid, provides a trenchant reminder that something is amiss with the American Dream and gives voice to the millions of "working poor" toiling in a country that needs them but doesn't want to see them. A sad and hopeful tale of being on the outside looking in, the author makes us wonder how'd we fare scrubbing and vacuuming away the detritus of an affluence that always seems beyond reach."
STEVE DUBLANICA, New York Times bestselling author of Waiter Rant
'Heartfelt and powerful...Land's love for her daughter shines brightly through the pages of this beautiful, uplifting story of resilience and survival.' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
'There's two stories in Maid. One is of the grind, agony and precariousness of poverty and the systems and stigma that mindlessly trap people in it. The other is a love story - of a mother and daughter, but also a woman's love for herself when world has turned its back on her. An important book giving a powerful voice to those who are too regularly overlooked.' MARISA BATE
'A work full of integrity and of the grit, graft and grace that comes with it. Stephanie Land's memoir is an essential manual in the sort of resilience, hope and diligence many of us will be fortunate enough to never experience. Maid comes from the gut not the gutter. Stephanie Land was meant to be a writer.' LISA BLOWER, award-winning author of Sitting Ducks