I just finished reading Stephanie Land’s book, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. The first night I started reading, I had a chest cold, and I needed to go to bed but bibliophile that I am, I started the beginning to see how I liked it. An hour later, and well past my bedtime, I had to pry myself away from her story to get some sleep. In the days that followed I waited for free moments to dive back in. Her writing was so compelling that the book kept calling to me. While I already follow Stephanie on social media and know a summary of her personal story, I was anxious to get back into the pages and make sure she would be okay.
Maid is an in-depth look into a person’s life who is living in and on the brink of poverty. It lays out how, once you totter past that brink, it is excruciatingly difficult to ever step out, and stay out of that world, especially as a single mother and a survivor of domestic violence.
I have read about the challenges people face navigating through social systems put in place to help poor people, how there are far more barriers to entry and to maintaining access to the meager benefits offered. How those barriers keep people in cycles of poverty, but reading her story made it crystal clear how difficult it really is. Add in how society thinks of, and quickly judges people, especially single mothers, and even more so single mothers of color, and it’s easy to see why Maid has met with such immediate success.
This is a story for anyone who wants to read a personal account of American class structure, of how quickly one can go from middle-class to tumbling below the net of what that distinction affords you, and how difficult it is to climb back out.
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