Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive Read-Alikes

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Are you waiting for the popular memoir by Stephanie Land? Maybe you’ve read it already, really enjoyed it, and can’t wait for something similar. Try one of these recommendations brought to you by the New & Featured librarians at Main!

 

Educated: A Memoir

The youngest daughter born to a family of survivalists, Westover’s childhood was intensely isolated and frequently fearful. Distrustful of the government, her father did not register her birth, and there was no question of her attending public school. As a result, Westover had no formal education until the age of 17, when she began a self-motivated academic journey that culminated in her being awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge. The story of an unlikely pathway to academic success, this memoir also presents a portrait of an extraordinary family, and of the difficulty of leaving one’s home so far behind.

Evicted : Poverty and Profit in the American City

Sociologist Matthew Desmond provides a fascinating look at the lives of 8 low-income families in Milwaukee struggling to find a decent place to live. By profiling the lives of both tenants and landlords, Desmond provides a balanced yet dire look at the housing crisis in the US.

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. The Glass Castle is truly astonishing–a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

Life Below Stairs

While you’re waiting to read about modern day Stephanie Land’s life as a maid for upper middle class America, you may want to look back in history with Life Below Stairs, which reveals the truth behind Victorian and Edwardian servants’ lives in Great Britain.

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories

Berlin’s anthology of short stories, celebrating the author’s trademark blend of humor and melancholy, finds miracles in everyday life and uncovers moments of grace in cafeterias, laundromats, homes of the upper class, and hotel dining rooms.

 

More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave

It was thought that modern conveniences such as the washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner and microwave would ease the burden placed on modern, middle class women.  However, it seems that women are now forced to keep up with higher standards of cleanliness and service, leaving the adage “a man works from sun to sun but a woman’s work is never done” still in place.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Ehrenrich went undercover as a waitress, a cleaning woman, a Wal-Mart sales clerk, and a nurse’s aide to examine how people cobble together an existence with minimum wage jobs in America. Fifteen years later, seems not much has changed.

 

This Is How You Lose Her

The stories in This Is How You Lose Her , by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through – “the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying” – to try to mend what we’ve broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care. They teach us the catechism of affections: that the faithlessness of the fathers is visited upon the children; that what we do unto our exes is inevitably done in turn unto us; and that loving thy neighbor as thyself is a commandment more safely honored on platonic than erotic terms. Most of all, these stories remind us that the habit of passion always triumphs over experience, and that “love, when it hits us for real, has a half-life of forever.”

White Trash: the 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

From the colonial era to modern day, Isenberg presents a heavily detailed study on the underprivileged, white population from the indentured servants brought to Plymouth to the eugenics movement to the rise of the proud redneck à la Duck Dynasty.

 

The Working Poor: Invisible in America

A portrait of poverty-level working families from a range of ethnic backgrounds in America reveals their legacy of low-paying, dead-end jobs, dysfunctional parenting, and substance abuse.