March 20, 2019
Not long ago, I read Maid by Stephanie Land, a book that discusses the challenges and difficulties of being a member of the working poor, not unlike Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich and Our Kids by Robert Putnam, which outline how difficult it has become to achieve “The American Dream” and how increasingly hard it is to make sure every child has a reasonable chance to have a better life than his or her parents.
Many people know Robert Putnam as a political scientist, researcher, and author. His work Bowling Alone started a very serious conversation about the eroding community that stabilized America in the middle of the 20th Century. Many people also know the journalist and investigative reporter Barbara Ehrenreich. Her work has led her to go undercover to report back on conditions working as a maid, a nursing home assistant, and a waitress.
Stephanie Land is different. She did not research and report. Land is the genuine article. She had some bad luck early in her life and eventually found herself in an abusive relationship. Her dreams slowly evaporated until she found herself and her baby living in temporary transitional housing and struggling to navigate social service programs and find gainful employment.
Land dreamed of being a writer. Fortunately for us, her luck and her environment slowly changed, and she was able to write her story for all of us to read. Her story is captivating and easy to read, and you will not be able to put it down. If you are like me, you will constantly wonder, “If one break had not gone my way, would my life have detoured like her life did?”
Two other matters come to mind after reading this incredible personal narrative. First, if you have a story to tell, we have a program at our Library to help you. We know that people often have a great story, but are just not ready or prepared to tell it. That is where The Story Center at Woodneath Library Center comes in handy. Visit our staff, and they can help you learn the skills to be an effective written or oral storyteller so you can share your story like Stephanie Land did.
Second, if you look up Maid in the catalog, you will likely see a sizable waiting list. But remember, our Library always owns one copy of every book for every three requests that we have for that book. Put another way, if you are number 90 on a waiting list, that means there are 30 copies of the book to fill the 90 requests. Another way to look at it is that you are third in line for copy 30, and that doesn’t seem like a very long line at all! Place your hold on Maid today! I am sure you will not regret it.
Steven V. Potter
MCPL Director & CEO