Book Review: Maid by Stephanie Land

Stephanie Land, like most others who find themselves in poverty, didn’t choose her economic status. And, contrary to popular belief, she didn’t make poor life decisions to lead her there either. Rather it was an abusive ex-partner, unplanned pregnancy, and lack of parental support that became the perfect storm forcing her into a lifestyle where every day she struggles to merely make ends meet. 


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Land bravely tells her story in an honest way. Although many aren’t able to relate to her financial situation, her narrative is relatable in her desire to provide for those whom she loves, in this case, her young daughter. She isn’t self-pitying, although she would have every right to be, instead, she straightforwardly outlines the day to day difficulties she faced as a single mother. As the title of the book gives away, she works as a maid, which means countless hours of physical labor for less than minimum wage pay. In order to make enough money to afford basic necessities, she sacrificed her relationship with her daughter, time for personal enjoyment, and even her health. 


To help pass the time at work, Stephanie pays close attention to the details of the houses she cleans and gets to know them in and out. Her clients, most of whom she never even sees face to face, come to feel like family to her. As someone who struggles to afford a safe home of her own, the juxtaposition of cleaning lavish houses shines a bright light on the inequality Land deals with. 


The best part of this book is the ending. It is as satisfying as it is saddening, as hopeful as it is disappointing. As it should, her writing leaves readers feeling her injustice and wanting change. Land does an incredible job of uncovering a deep social issue in a way that will hit home for every reader, regardless of social or economic status.