How to watch Stephanie Land discuss “Maid” at L.A. Times Book Club

5 things to know about Stephanie Land and “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive.”


Author Stephanie Land joined the L.A. Times Book Club on Jan. 25 to discuss her memoir, “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive.”

You can watch Land’s book club conversation with Times reporter Paloma Esquivel on YouTube or Twitter.

“Maid” details Land’s journey from single mother and $10-an-hour domestic worker to college student with a budding writing career.


Here are five things to know:

Land grew up in Washington state and Alaska, raised by parents whose families had lived in poverty. When she took her infant daughter and left an abusive relationship, she plunged into a world where she received just enough assistance to survive — as long as she obeyed rules that felt like punishment for being poor. The book’s opening line: “My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.”

Writing saved her. Land found solace and success chronicling her daily struggles, eventually moving to attend the University of Montana. Her essay for a writing class called “Confessions of the Housekeeper” went viral and Land began writing “Maid” on her kitchen table in Missoula. She graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

A woman bends to scrub outdoor furniture.
Margaret Qualley in “Maid.”
(Ricardo Hubbs / Netflix)

“Maid” was published in January 2019 and became a New York Times bestseller. Former President Barack Obama included “Maid” on his 2019 summer reading list, saying Land’s story offers an “unflinching look at America’s class divide” and “a reminder of the dignity of all work.”

The book inspired a 10-part Netflix series. The show debuted in October and stars Margaret Qualley and her real-life mom, Andie MacDowell. Land watched the first two episodes curled under a blanket with 14-year-old Story (known as Maddy in the series), who turned to Land at one point and said, “We got out, but so many haven’t.” In the ScreenGab newsletter, Times TV editor Matt Brennan notes that “Maid” has surpassed Emmy winner “The Queen’s Gambit” as the platform’s most-watched limited series — and an awards contender itself.

A mother holds her child with the setting sun behind them.
Rylea Nevaeh Whittet as Maddy and Margaret Qualley as Alex in “Maid.”
(Ricardo Hubbs / Netflix)

Wondering what to read next on these issues? Land’s story is unique, with its candid look at the life of a housecleaner. But millions of Americans face the same daily challenges she depicts, struggling to find housing and meet other basic needs. To learn more about the inequalities built into our economy and some potential solutions, here are nine more books to read after “Maid.”

Collage for story on 10 books to help you understand inequality
(Harvard University Press; Legacy Lit/ Hachette Books;Doubleday/Random House;Crown;Twelve Books;The New Press;Knopf;Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

“Maid” is the January selection of the L.A. Times Book Club.

Next up: On Feb. 25 we’ll meet up with legendary naturalist and activist Jane Goodall to learn about her latest project, “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times.” Ticket information is coming soon. Renowned expert on chimpanzees, anthropologist and U.N. messenger of peace, Goodall is the subject of the immersive “Becoming Jane” experience at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and we’ll be talking about that too.

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