“If this book inspires you, which it may, remember how close it came to never being written. Stephanie might have given in to despair or exhaustion; she might have suffered a disabling injury at work. Think too of all the women who, for reasons like that, never manage to get their stories told. Stephanie reminds us that they are out there in the millions, each heroic in her own way, waiting for us to listen.”
—From the Foreword to MAID by Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed
“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 firsthand-and one we so desperately need right now. Timely, urgent, and unforgettable, this is memoir at its very best.”
─Susannah Cahalan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
“My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.”
In the tradition of bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Evicted, Stephanie Land—a writing fellow for the Economic Hardship Reporting Project (EHRP) and Center for Community Change (CCC)—writes a compassionate, unflinching account of her years scraping by as a housekeeper to make ends meet. In Maid, we enter Stephanie Land’s world and that of domestic workers who are paid far less than their needs.
As a single mother, Stephanie scrubbed the toilets of the wealthy and lived in a dank studio with her daughter. Her journey is one of resilience and grit as she hops from home to home and survives on meager wages and public assistance. Maid is a deep dive into the gut-wrenching truth of both the secret underbelly of middle class America, and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. Barbara Ehrenreich writes, “Stephanie Land has something to teach us about both sides of the inequality divide. Neither is what you are expecting.”
Written in raw, masterful, heart-rending prose, Maid is the story of one woman’s tenacity to survive and break free of the grips of the system to give her child a better life. Stephanie Land’s work gives voice to the working poor. Her compassionate, unflinching writing is fueled by her own struggle as a low-income single mother who aspired to use her stories to expose the reality of pursuing the American Dream while being held under the poverty line.
Stephanie Land‘s work has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Vox, Salon, and many other outlets. She lives in Missoula, Montana.