Maid – Stephanie Land

I received an e-Advanced Reader copy in exchange for a for a fair review. Many thanks to Hachette Book Group and Netgalley for the opportunity to do so.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive documents Stephanie Land’s struggles as a single mom. Land finds herself and her daughter homeless after she leaves her abusive boyfriend. As the title suggests she works as a maid while she struggles to get out of a homeless shelter and provide for herself and her young daughter. Even when she does manage to get out of the homeless shelter life keeps knocking her down. Beaten and bruised from what life throws at her Land continues to get up and slug through, using the hope that things will get better to keep herself from giving up.

This memoir is distressing while also being inspirational at the same time. Not only does it show how people treat people when they poor, but also the struggle that they go through trying to crawl out of the incredibly deep hole of poverty. Land talks about many different situations but the two that stuck out to me the most where when Land uses SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to buy food at the supermarket. While checking out man tells her “you’re welcome” because in his mind he is the one who is helping her pay for her food with his contribution to taxes.  How sad it was for someone to remark on her struggles without knowing anything about her. Another incident that stood out to me was her daughter, Mia, continuously get sick because of their living conditions. The only apartment that she can afford is a home that is damp, cold and teeming with black mold. The nurse, after Land tells her a bit about their apartment, tells her to try harder for her daughter. Even though Land frequently forgos food to feed her daughter, works a maid service job while taking more cleaning and landscaping jobs on the side. Not to mention how even earning a little bit more money will keep her from receiving some of her benefits that help her pay for Mia’s childcare while she works. Even with these hardships she manages to make it through, working to provide the best that she can for herself and Mia.

There are a few things that did bother me about this memoir. I wish that the timeline was more pronounced. Often I found myself confused as to if the time line was linear or not. I wish that years were mentioned more. Months were given but not mentioning the year every once in a while made it hard for me follow. The next thing that bothered me I am excluding from my overall dislike of the memoir until the final copy is out because I hope that it gets fixed before it’s publish next year. It has to do with using commas to separate nonessential phrases and clauses. Land with use this grammar rule twice in a sentence which can make it difficult to understand the sentence without reading it more than once taking out one phrase or clause at a time. This happens mostly in the first half of the book. So hopefully this just has to do with it not being a final copy. Finally, every once in a while there would be a paragraph that didn’t seem to relate to the what was going on in the paragraph before and after. While they gave important information it just seemed out of place.

I did like reading about Land’s hardship and struggles. It puts poverty into a perspective that allows for it to be understood. Showing the the judgement of her situation and her struggle to overcome it. I’m not sure if I want to pick up a final copy of this book, but I did enjoy the memoir.

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