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Nonfiction Book Club [os]
May 10 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Join us on Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the home of Lane Owsley and Alaine Davis for a meeting of the WUUC Nonfiction Book Club. We will discuss “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land.
First-time author Land chronicles her years among the working poor as a single mother with only a high school diploma trying to earn a living as a minimum-wage housecleaner.
The author did not grow up in poverty, but her struggles slowly evolved after her parents divorced, remarried, and essentially abandoned her; after she gave birth to a daughter fathered by a man who never stopped being abusive; and after her employment prospects narrowed to dirty jobs with absurdly low hourly pay. The narrative maintains its power due to Land’s insights into working as an invisible maid inside wealthy homes; her self-awareness as a loving but inadequate mother to her infant; and her struggles to survive domestic violence.
For readers who believe individuals living below the poverty line are lazy and/or intellectually challenged, this memoir is a stark, necessary corrective. Purposefully or otherwise, the narrative also offers a powerful argument for increasing government benefits for the working poor during an era when most benefits are being slashed. Though the benefits received by Land and her daughter after mountains of paperwork never led to financial stability, they did ameliorate near starvation. The author is especially detailed and insightful on the matter of government-issued food stamps. Some of the most memorable scenes recount the shaming Land received when using the food stamps to purchase groceries. Throughout, Land has been sustained by her fierce love for her daughter and her dreams of becoming a professional writer. This is an important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty.
-Kirkus Review, edited for length
Four times a year, the WUUC Book Discussion Group gathers to read and talk about a nonfiction book. You only attend the meetings about books that interest you, so we end up with a different group of participants every time. We meet to connect, share a meal, and talk about a book in depth. Anyone is welcome to suggest a book and/or lead a discussion. Contact Alaine, firstname.lastname@example.org, to RSVP, suggest a book, or offer to host a future discussion.