I love Maid. This book, from a young, single mother, takes a deep dive into how easy it is to fall onto hard times in America, and how long it takes to crawl out of that situation. Land is genuine, and conveys emotions in such a beautiful way. Her story is not uncommon, nor is it original. Instead, she writes about it from a place of willingness to share.
One of my early jobs as a high school and even college student was as a housekeeper. It was my least favorite job. Although the pay was relatively steady, it was strenuous work and I was often exhausted at the end of every day, even though the hours were often far shorter than jobs I’ve worked since then. I’ve always said that I would never work as a housekeeper again unless I had to. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have that as one of the only opportunities available to me.
Depending on how you look at it, housekeeping can be degrading work, or it can be a personal glimpse into people’s lives. One of the hardest parts is how disconnected you can feel from everyone around you. Some people take very little care to clean up their own messes, relying on the anonymous worker to take care of their bad habits for them. They do not want to come into contact with this house cleaner, nor do they want any trace of the individual left behind. Others are willing to be friendly should they run into you, often leave behind a tip or presents around the holidays. The second category is unfortunately more rare.
However, while I have had minimal experience in a similar line of employment to Land, I cannot begin to imagine that I could ever know what it felt like to be in her position, without options, and with such a stressful personal life as well beyond what she conveys in her book. Land does an excellent job of sharing her story not only from the perspective of her job, but from her housing situations, her relationships, and her ability to feel like a mother. I can’t recommend this book if you want an emotional memoir to read.