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

By: Barbara Ehrenreich, Stephanie Land

Publisher: Hachette Trade

Imprint: Hachette

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780316505116

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On Sale: | Pages: 288

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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 by women--fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter's head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today's inequitable society. While she worked hard to scratch her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labor jobs, 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 overworked and underpaid Americans. Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America 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.
Land describes the work she falls into with the kind of specificity and detail that are more frequently employed in descriptions of surgery or dance: Cleaning left to right, top to bottom, room by room, Land sketches the choreography of drudgery.... On the other hand, there's an oddly rich vein of observation available to the domestic worker with writerly instincts... In “Maid,” Land displays a keen eye for how her clients live, what their houses say about their lives.... More than any book in recent memory, Land nails the sheer terror that comes with being poor, the exhausting vigilance of knowing that any misstep or twist of fate will push you deeper into the hole. Thankfully for Land — and for readers, to be honest — a few circumstances break her way, and her years of work begin to pay off.
—Boston Globe
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