New York Times bestseller, MAID, a memoir of a single mother struggling to survive while performing the household labor that many of us take for granted, is Gramercy’s June Book Club selection. To facilitate this discussion is Julie Horger, longtime English and Journalism teacher at Bexley High School, named in 2015 as Bexley Educator of the Year. Before moving to Columbus, Julie was a reporter for eight years at a weekly newspaper in Maumee, Ohio.
At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree and began to write relentlessly.
She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.
Land’s compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The memoir includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed.
Stephanie Land is a journalist whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Vox, Salon, and many other outlets. She focuses on social and economic justice as a writing fellow through both the Center for Community Change and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
Bexley City Schools is Gramercy’s Community Partner for this book club program.