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Class A memoir.
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Library Journal Review
Land's first memoir, Maid, told the story of how she navigated harrowing economic circumstances and supported her daughter by cleaning houses. Her latest memoir continues where she left off, having moved to Missoula, MT, from Washington State. Though she had hoped for some measure of financial security, she once again finds herself cleaning houses and relying on various forms of public aid to support herself and her children as she finishes her college degree. Narrating her own memoir, Land movingly communicates the bone-deep fatigue and pressure of her life, stretched thin by work and the stress of trying to be a good mother and student and achieve her dreams of being a writer. Land expressively describes the frustration of navigating government bureaucracy one moment and trying to make sense of a complicated and often oblivious academic world the next. VERDICT This deeply touching memoir sheds light on the seemingly insurmountable challenges encountered by impoverished people seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Fans of Maid and the Netflix series inspired by the book will want to listen to this.--Susan Cox
Publishers Weekly Review
Bestseller Land (Maid) catalogs her experiences juggling housecleaning jobs, childcare, and graduate school while battling poverty in this frank and captivating memoir. In lucid prose ("My whole body ached to give her more. She deserved ballet lessons if she wanted them and for someone to show her that it was okay to dream"), Land details the many tightropes she walked to balance her dreams of becoming a writer with what she "needed to do to survive as a single parent who struggled to make ends meet in endless, sometimes impossible ways." After escaping an abusive relationship in her late 20s, Land moved from Washington State to Missoula, Mont., with her five-year-old daughter to pursue an MFA in writing. In the fall of her final year at the University of Montana, she unexpectedly got pregnant again and decided to keep the baby, to the consternation of the likely father. Land viscerally conjures the relentless grind she faced to obtain governmental aid and increased child support to cover food, heat, car repairs, childcare, and student loans while fighting to keep her daughter happy and her unborn child healthy without sacrificing her own professional dreams. Eye-opening and heartrending, this will provide succor for readers who've faced similar hardships and essential education for anyone who hasn't. It's another stirring personal history from one of the foremost chroniclers of 21st-century economic anxiety. Agent: Mollie Glick, CAA. (Nov.)
Booklist Review
In an engaging follow-up to her first memoir, Maid (2019), which became a Netflix series, Land continues her story of struggling to survive as a single parent. At 35, she attends the University of Montana, hoping a degree will lead to economic security and a writing career. Land's deeply personal stories offer a firsthand look at the inequities involved in navigating higher education from a position of poverty: the judgment from faculty and peers, the dysfunctional bureaucracy, and the crushing burden of student loans. Add constant insecurity about both housing and food, abusive relationships, and the author's own ambivalence about accepting assistance, and her challenges seem insurmountable, but she prevails with resilience and resourcefulness. The popularity of Maid as a book and as a show, along with the compelling, honest way Land shares her experiences, will ensure wide reader appeal and will be of particular interest to those who want more books like Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, Tara Westover's Educated, and Sarah M. Broom's The Yellow House.
Kirkus Review
The bestselling author of Maid returns with a gripping account of her struggles balancing higher education, parenthood, and poverty. Land picks up close to where her previous memoir left off. After years of struggling as a housekeeper and single mother, the author moved to Missoula to study English at the University of Montana. However, despite the realization of a long-held dream, her battle to become financially stable continued. In candid, compelling prose, Land describes balancing child care, multiple jobs, and school over the oppressive hum of poverty. "It was common for me to only have ten bucks in my bank account and live off peanut butter for the final few days of the month," she writes. "Long-term financial planning is for people who aren't living in poverty. I didn't have the time or the energy to calculate how much debt I was in or how much interest I paid every month or how much interest I would pay on my student loans….All I cared about was a continued ability to feed, clothe, and house my kid." The author sheds necessary light on the challenges of anyone living in poverty, especially parents. While many of her teenage classmates were able to direct their focus on school exclusively, Land spent countless hours navigating government assistance programs and mothering her child. This book serves as an illuminating portrait of a part of the higher education experience that is often ignored. Land's recurring bitterness, however, somewhat sours the narrative. Though she is a successful writer, she harbors a surprising amount of rancor about her rejection from Montana's graduate creative writing program. Still, the overall quality of the writing and the importance of the story make for a powerful read. Part memoir, part manifesto: Fans of Maid will enjoy this next installment from a dedicated writer and mother. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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