Stephanie Land’s first book MAID was a rightfully-deserved bestseller and became a hit Netflix show. CLASS chronicles her struggles to attend college as a single mother, living below the poverty line and constantly fighting a system designed to keep her down.
Land writes with brutal honesty about college instructors who casually toss out cruel comments, food insecurity and basically being one step away from catastrophe: ”Questioning the logic was useless, since there simply wasn’t any. All government assistance programs operated on the assumption that every person who walked into their office brought with them the possibility of scamming them in some way.”
While pursuing a 4-year education might be a given for many people, for Land it was a near-constant battle. She was continually having to justify her college degree to her abusive ex and to the family courts. She often felt guilty for just wanting a night out, a weekend alone or a cup of coffee from the local coffee shop. (“The paranoia that I would somehow get caught in a frivolous moment never left me. After several years on government assistance, my value as a member of society no longer seemed to be my education, but rather the low-wage work I would potentially do to make life easier in some way for a person whose family could afford to pay for them to go to college.”)
Despite all of this, Land graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in English and rest, as they say, is history. CLASS is a story of resilience and pursuing your dreams. Land never gave up even when it seemed that everyone was betting on her to fail. Highly recommend this inspiring memoir.
About the Book:
From the New York Times bestselling author who inspired the hit Netflix series about a struggling mother barely making ends meet as a housecleaner—a gripping memoir about college, motherhood, poverty, and life after Maid.
When Stephanie Land set out to write her memoir Maid, she never could have imagined what was to come. Handpicked by President Barack Obama as one of the best books of 2019, it was called “an eye-opening journey into the lives of the working poor” (People). Later it was adapted into the hit Netflix series Maid, which was viewed by 67 million households and was Netflix’s fourth most-watched show in 2021, garnering three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Stephanie’s escape out of poverty and abuse in search of a better life inspired millions.
Maid was a story about a housecleaner, but it was also a story about a woman with a dream. In Class, Land takes us with her as she finishes college and pursues her writing career. Facing barriers at every turn including a byzantine loan system, not having enough money for food, navigating the judgments of professors and fellow students who didn’t understand the demands of attending college while under the poverty line—Land finds a way to survive once again, finally graduating in her mid-thirties.
Class paints an intimate and heartbreaking portrait of motherhood as it converges and often conflicts with personal desire and professional ambition. Who has the right to create art? Who has the right to go to college? And what kind of work is valued in our culture? In clear, candid, and moving prose, Class grapples with these questions, offering a searing indictment of America’s educational system and an inspiring testimony of a mother’s triumph against all odds.