Life is tough.
Parcel of being a human is to experience ups and downs.
Many of us are fortunate enough that our ‘downs’, are not ‘rock-bottoms’.
This memoir by Stephanie Land, shares the experience of a single mom’s struggles for survival.
After a series of bad decisions, she finds herself at the ‘rock-bottom’. With just a couple of hundred dollars, no major support from family, no education background, no place to stay, and with legal proceedings over her daughter’s custody, she and her daughter are left all alone.
Survival in itself has become a struggle for her. To make ends meet, she had to take the only job that didn’t ask any experience or fancy educational background - Maid.
“I WORK 25 HOURS A WEEK AS A PROFESSIONAL CLEANER, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO PAY THE BILLS.”
This income wasn’t enough to support her and her daughter’s basic expenses. She had to rely heavily on Government schemes and programs like food stamps, assisted housings, etc.
From there, the book covers five years of her life. She describes about her experiences as a maid, her dreams, people who helped her at different phases, her efforts to pursue her dream to become an author and many others. (PS: This is a memoir, and there is nothing to spoil :P. The fact that this book exist in itself is a spoiler that she made it! )
My thoughts after reading this book:
This book opened up a lot of perspectives for me. It made me really feel grateful for the life, family, support structure and the opportunities that I have received so far.
Some parts of this book really penetrates the heart, like when she talks about her emotions when she worries about not being able to afford a safe environment for her daughter.
Our society in general should be more empathetic to maids (and all others too). She explains how happy she felt when some of her customer actually treated her as a ‘person’ and not something to be ignored.
We make bad decisions, humans generally do. We aren’t blessed with superpowers to foresee the future. Let’s accept the fact, and start working on fixing the mess. Fixing it will not be simple, it’s intense, brutal and exhausting. But that’s the only way to evolve.
Education is priceless. It has led millions of people to get past misery and poverty. Our system is not perfect, but it still works.
Who would I recommend this book to:
This is an interesting read, but I don’t think I’ll recommend this to many. Reason why I wouldn’t recommend this book to a lot of people is that her thoughts and musings can be interpreted as complaining, and if that’s the case then it will be very hard to complete this book. (Check out GoodReads, it has a very varied response from people)
My Rating: I would rate this book 3.25/5.
Interesting Quotes from the book:
I was, overwhelmed by how much work it took to prove I was poor.
There was no incentive or opportunity to save money. The system kept me locked down, scraping the bottom of the barrel, without a plan to climb out of it.
I love you, I whispered to myself. I’m here for you. Reassurance of self-love was all I had.
I could be as reckless as I wanted with my heart, but not with hers.
It seemed like certain members of society looked for opportunities to judge and scold poor people for what they felt we didn’t deserve
I’d sunk to a new low, but I wouldn’t let it sink me.
You wanna know how to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.