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Summary

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive (2019) by Stephanie Land tells Land's own personal struggle as a single mother who cleans houses to provide for her daughter. As a young adult, Land became accidentally pregnant one summer by a new boyfriend who became abusive. Though Land originally planned to earn a college degree and become a writer, she was forced to take a job cleaning houses with Classic Clean to support herself and her daughter, Mia. Her daughter spent her infancy in a homeless shelter, followed by a low-rent apartment. Land spends countless hours doing paperwork and attending meetings with government officials in order to procure government aid. Though her rent was a modest $550 per month, Land earned less than $9 per hour. Land was also trapped by her reluctance to move out of Port Townsend, Washingtonā€”for fear of irritating Mia's father.

While working as a maid, she explains how she feels invisible (as she seldom meets her clients). Land provides intimate details about her clients' lifestyles and names each house after an observed idiosyncrasy of its owner. For example, the "Cigarette House" is occupied by a woman who keeps Virginia Slims in the freezer. The "Porn House" is occupied by a man who keeps pornography in his bedroom. The "Sad House" stays relatively clean, as the owner is often in the hospital; the owner of the "Sad House" is a widower, and keeps many of his wife's old notes and belongings. Despite the fact that Stephanie lives in poverty, after thoroughly examining their homes while cleaning, she feels that her clients are not necessarily happier.

In...

(The entire section is 416 words.)