To be quite transparent, I’m not too sure why I first picked up this book. But after reading, I’m glad that I did.
A true story based off her real-life events, Stephanie Land’s “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mothers Will to Survive,” captivated me from the first page. Land and her toddler-aged daughter are in the middle of moving out of the homeless shelter and into a government living facility that later proves to be unfit for them. However, starting the book in the midst of their lives made me want to read more and figure out how they ended up where they were.
Land then goes on to explain, briefly and sporadically, throughout the book her life in a sequence of events that led to her being essentially a single mom while struggling to find work in order to provide for not only herself, but her very young daughter.
Land had big dreams of moving to Missoula, Montana in order to attend college. But her hopes and dreams were cut short when she found out she was pregnant and then found herself in an abusive relationship. Doing what was best for her and her daughter, Land moved out of the only place they had to call home, briefly stayed with her father (until she found out that he was also violent) and finally into a homeless shelter.
These few decisions led to her being in an endless cycle of scrambling in order to keep her and her daughter safe and taken care of. Land found herself looking for cleaning jobs to make barely enough money to provide for her family of two, stable housing that didn’t make them sick, and government aid to be able to take her child to the doctor. Everyday things that most people take for granted.
At first, I questioned why she couldn’t just live with family until she got a stable job. But then Land explained that her family was also struggling to make ends meet and that her mom lived in Europe with a boyfriend that had no intentions of helping Land financially.
At the end of the book, Land finally catches a break and receives a scholarship that will allow her to finally move to Missoula and complete her education.
After reading this memoir, I found myself left in awe at her life. She faced so many conflicts but never gave up. She kept herself together rather than breaking down multiple times for her daughters sake. I could not imagine having to face these struggles and manage to do so with a smile on my face so that my child doesn’t worry.
While I admire Land and her bravery, I feel as if there were some questions left unanswered by the end of the book. At the very end, she mentions having two daughters and graduating. Maybe it’s just the type of reader I am, but I would have loved to read about her college experience and her second child. Perhaps there will be a second book one day to answer these inquiries, but for the time being, I have to say that that was the only thing I disliked the book.
Predominantly, I thoroughly appreciated the memoir and would recommend it to anyone. While it was a wonderful read, I don’t think that it has earned itself a very high spot on my list of favorites. Not for any bad reasoning, it just didn’t strike me as something that I would read over and over again.