Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive
by Stephanie Land
2019/ 289 pp
read by the author
rating: 8 / memoir-social science
I think I’d heard about this book at some point because it did get a lot of very favorable reviews, probably due in part to Ehrenreich – see the Forward. Ehrenreich wrote “Nickeled and Dimed” which I read years ago. This is the same sort of thing thematically but from a real worker’s point of view – not Ehrenreich’s living in poverty. I got it because it was on sale and sounded interesting.
It is interesting although I’m hard pressed to say why. I think part of the appeal is that Land is real and she’s not excusing herself or defending herself and not complaining about the government. She’s just telling it like it probably is.
She’s a single woman with a child and no support from family. She’s immersed in a world of poverty with little or no hope. She’s someone we all see virtually every day in hotels or coffee shops or anywhere people work for minimum wage and women have children to feed and house.
Stephanie works as a cleaning lady for a company which pays minimum wage and cuts corners. Much of the book is devoted to her jobs. (It makes me wonder what my cleaning ladies have thought about my house.
It’s good reading but it’s kind of depressing. I almost didn’t finish because of that but there’s something compelling about it. And it picks up a lot at the end – reality for those living in poverty is usually crisis after crisis for a long time. It’s a good thing I just finished a streak of “feel good” novels and now I’ll go find another feel good or some escape thing.