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

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: New York : Hachette Books, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316505116
Characteristics: xiv, 270 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Ehrenreich, Barbara
Call Number: B LAND, S


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Jun 15, 2019

Heartland by Sarah Smarsh is SOOOO much better than this book. Land whines and seems to believe that you should get something without pain. Envy is a b... What choices did she make between 18 and 28 that led her to this path? Glaringly silent on that - she says that people like Kurt who appear stoned all day "are her kind of people" - WHAT? She "hated having to be grateful for a job (that she admittedly) doesn't like - well..that could be said for many of us. "I craved human interaction EVEN IF it was a situation where I'd been hired by someone to work." Huh? What does this even mean? What about child support - she refuses to use resources available to her (food banks, etc.) because she is afraid of what people will think? Even though she has a child (now 2 children). She complains about how much of her $$ she must spend on gas to get to/from her jobs - I would assume that is the same for all of us! While I do believe that we need to simplify the safety net and believe in a living wage, this book did NOTHING for me to advocate for that. She seems to want to chase her dreams but wants everyone to feel bad for her because she does not have the resources to do so. None of her family, including a brother?, are still in the picture - including her exes (although they contribute to her daughter's well being) - what is the common denominator here? Just could not get into her story. I gave it a 3*** only because the underlying topic is so important but read Heartland for maybe I really mean 2**???

May 23, 2019

This book reads like a novel; it's a page turner. True story.

Stephanie Land's story is a true representation (memoir) of her life as a young, new mother, fighting to stay away from eviction, hunger, illness, and despair; her story also becomes a valid voice for the daily lives of millions of other impoverished single mothers like herself whose financial urgency is to put a roof over their heads and put food on the table to support and care for their children.

The book is also a true story of how broken families, nonexistent grandparents, and judgemental friends are "contributing realities" to deepening the pain of poverty at a scarcity level, poverty income; severe mental anguish.

Author Land gives readers a skilled and real and painful language of words, describing the stress, worry, exhaustion, and fears inside the lives of millions of women living in the United States, raising children in poverty.

After finishing this book, there could be an implicit "call for action" by any reader who might make a decision to do something regularly, not only seasonally, which represents taking an action of doing some act of compassion for the too-real poverty faced by any parent trying to raise a child while living in economic poverty. To act in the solidarity of understanding; actions.

Do you know the poverty rate % of the city in which you live? For Saint Paul, Minnesota, I've seen a 20% statistic, but have also seen higher than 20%.

May 20, 2019

Loved the honesty and realness of Stephanie's memoir. It has hints of "Educated" and perspective to be aware of those around you. Encouraging and transformative - well worth the read.

May 14, 2019

Just reading Stephanie Land's "Maid" has exhausted me. How did she manage the grueling workload, long commutes and longer hours for meager pay, while caring for her toddler and taking college courses? I think she did us all a great service in addressing the stigma of being part of the working poor in this country. And I look at bathrooms now in a whole new light.

May 06, 2019

Very Good! I would love to meet the author. I am following her career because her life as a blue collar/working class/poverty survivor is admirable. I enjoyed the forward since I read Nickel and Dimed back in 2008. Very well done. a must read.

Mar 29, 2019

I'm a reader who is hard to please. I borrow many books and start to read them, but don't finish them. This book was excellent. It is well written and tells a story with a real emotional impact. I am grateful I heard about it and glad I read it.

Mar 23, 2019

This is a real life story that takes us into the life of author Stephanie Land, a single mother reduced to living on low wages, in less than desirable housing, and struggling as a single mom.
Despite her infinite desire and hard work she barely provides. The government assistance meant to help comes with a heavy dose of judgement when the biggest need is encouragement. Success is measured differently by most and we see her definition in her countless efforts to make her dream come true.

Mar 18, 2019

This is going to be on many college required reading lists, or should be. And should be required reading by anyone involved in public policy. And anyone who has ever complained that their tax dollars go to lazy people getting free goodies. And anyone who has ever thought, or said, negative comments when the person in front of you in line at the grocery store uses food stamps. I've had to rely on food stamps and yet I still have those thoughts sometimes. You can't help judging but you can catch yourself and you can learn some empathy by reading this book. It's the least you can do. Really.

And it reads like the author has written dozens of books before: so descriptive and so deep that you are transported to a life you do not want to live, a life so bone-tired, a life so without opportunity, a life so pull-yourself-up-from-your-wornout/second-hand/ripping-with-holes bootstraps that you'll want to donate to the next Go Fund Me campaign you see for anyone with a hardship trying to get through the day. In fact, I took breaks to clean my kitchen and floors, and even my bathroom once, while reading. (I like cleaning but reading this made it feel like therapy.)

The author has been on podcasts and media interviews, stating her story so beautifully that I'm not worthy to recreate it. The book is so well-structured and so well-written and so perfect for the time in which we live: a time where everybody seems to be judging each other and finding reasons to look down on those of us who don't have as much. Or maybe that's just what it feels like to be poor, not broke, in such a divided country right now.

Putting yourself into the life of a single mom who has to scrub nasty toilets to earn food stamps and live in moldy studio apartments doesn't sound like an exciting journey, but it is! It's so much better than all those travel books that you read to pretend to live in Italy among grapevines, drinking wine and basking in the beautiful pink sunset. Those things just seem superficial after reading this.

Mar 15, 2019

Vividly conveys the author's fear, stress, and isolation during a 5-year period of poverty, as well as the joy and love she shares with her daughter during that time. The author's state of constant worry and near-exhaustion from hard work at low wages is relentless, and her experience makes a compelling case for the immense emotional and mental toll of being poor in America. However, as most of the book details the economic facts and forces that make it so hard for her to escape poverty, the last chapter, which somewhat glosses over the material changes in her life and instead takes an almost mystical "ask the universe for what you want, and it will provide" tone, was an odd and unsatisfying conclusion.

ArapahoeKati Mar 12, 2019

I was sucked in by Land's descriptions of poverty and abusive relationships, her struggle to go to college, and feeling frustrated by how she only made $6/hr when the cleaning company charged clients $25/hr. It all feels unfair and bleak, but the love that she has for her daughter gives her—and you—the courage to keep going.

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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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