Hard Work, Low Pay, and A Mother's Will to Survive

Book - 2019
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Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, took classes online to earn a college degree. And she wrote relentlessly: true stories of overworked and underpaid Americans; of living on food stamps and WIC coupons. Here she explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them.
Publisher: New York : Hachette Books, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316505116
Characteristics: xiv, 270 pages ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

"A journalist describes the years she worked in low-paying domestic work under wealthy employers, contrasting the privileges of the upper-middle class to the realities of the overworked laborers supporting them."

From the critics

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Apr 20, 2020

Theresa L

Mar 15, 2020

I don't know if I could have endured this woman's journey. It illustrated the cycle of abuse, if you are not taught that you are loved and worthy as a child then you will be more likely to accept relationships that will end up in domestic violence.
The welfare system does not offer a hand up, it is too bureaucratic and cuts off people's benefits just as they start to make any success, I worked as a case manager in the Aid to Dependent Children County department in the 70's and apparently it has not changed.
Often the justice system helps men abuse women via their children.
Minimum wage and high rental costs just don't work to keep people from being homeless, it is getting worse and worse.
I am glad she made a leap of faith and is a successful writer, this is a great book. Also, read "Evicted" and "Nickled and Dimed" if you want to know more on these subjects.

ReadingAdviser_Lori Mar 02, 2020

Land writes a gritty account of her life as a single mother. She works as a maid while trying to make a better life for herself and her daughter.

This book isn't about maids, or the kind of maid I would call a maid. A maid to me is black uniform, and white apron sort of thing. This book is about cleaning houses for a living to get out of financial dire straights. Land, the author, describes what it was like raising her daughter while struggling to stay in school and keep a roof over their head. There's the typical scenarios, that didn't surprise me, about the broken down family court system, abusive relationship, child support and custody. I liked the book; there was enough to keep me interested. It's much along the lines of Evicted, or Hillbilly Elegy. If your interested in one more story about someone struggling to get out from under the poverty line and how our welfare system works, this is one more persons story about it.

Jan 18, 2020

We are certainly given a true picture of what living a life of a cleaning woman, and being a single Mom involves and this author deserves praise for her endurance and will to succeed. What spoke to me was of this woman's everlasting love for her Daughter which in the darkest of days kept her motivated to go on and endure all the mess in her life. She did it for her child and her attitude is what got her through. My problem was getting into the darkness of the book, in other words, the depressing details. I wanted to let the story go because I felt that it was going to go on to the last sentence with the never letting up saga of care less people in this girl's life and how it seemed no one saw her despair. I questioned my disregard for those people struggling in our own community with low wages, or no job at all and on a single income. In other words, could I walk a mile in their shoes? A worthwhile read and a happy ending.

Jan 13, 2020

Interesting read. She worked hard and adored her little daughter. Frustrated with her lack of action on moldy accommodation and how long it took her to get going. I admired her resolution on her education. I can see how single moms can get caught in the poverty cycle. May not have agreed on all her decisions but she did good. A good behind the scenes look at a struggling working class on minimum wage.

Jan 09, 2020

An eye opening look at poverty and struggling to survive with pride and without family to help. Many families in America find themselves in this situation. A good look at government programs and assistance out there for individuals.

Dec 09, 2019

Depressing and frustrating read. The mother wallows in self pity and pride so much she fails to use the resources to help herself out. Too proud to go to Goodwill for clothing for herself and child (where many items are brand new with sales tags still on them) for under $5. She was too proud to even go to food banks that are available to supplement food stamps to help give herself and child better nourishment. She had her eyes so much on what she did NOT have that she was blinded to all the good blessings she did have. However, she was a hard worker and evidently did an excellent job by her customers. She had good people in her life who could have filled her loneliness if she had made a tiny effort. When she finally got smart enough to move out of a moldy place, she left it better off than when she found it. However, to do another move in a favor, the place should have been reported about the mold. It is a miracle the child did not have permanent health issues from it. I just got tried of all the whining and poor me attitude.

Oct 03, 2019

Fantastic read, and incredibly well written. Ms. Land has a gift and tells the struggle of many young adults in North America. It's a great book about compassion, empathy, financial literacy, economics, education, and parenting your children and parents in your thirties. It's a beautiful story, and I took off a star because the details were missing. Explaining Stephanie's tattoos, her maternal relationship with her college-educated (Master's) Mother, and the end. The end of the story missed the initial and middle pace, finishing the story off too quickly.

Sep 18, 2019

I wanted to like this book and feel compassion for Stephanie Land. Yet... I just didn't.

I do believe she struggled and that it wasn't easy, especially when she got out of an abusive relationship with no support system to lean on for help. But as I was reading it, I felt like she was complaining about things that everyone pretty much deals with in life : sore and tired from working, not happy with her job, car repairs, other financial set backs...etc.

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cals_readers Feb 12, 2019

Poverty was like a stagnant pond of mud that pulled at our feet and refused to let go.

cals_readers Feb 12, 2019

If I started crying every time something hard or horrible happened, well, I'd just be crying all the time.

cals_readers Feb 10, 2019

Reassurance of self-love was all I had.


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