MISSOULA – Many authors dream of making the New York Times Best Sellers list.
A Missoula writer did just that with her very first novel that reveals the struggle to overcome poverty and the will to survive — and now she’s shining a light on the often unseen effort to achieve the American Dream.
Stephanie Land is taking a little break on her book tour and is back home in Missoula. Her book Maid has been dubbed an unapologetic memoir of her fight to survive as a single mother — and her story has people’s attention.
“The response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive in a very surprising way. I didn’t really think people would connect to it so much,” Land said. “I didn’t think people would be ready to hear how hard it is to be a single parent on government assistance.”
The book is on many must-read lists and sits at #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. She’s been on national tv talking about her story which is a very personal account of poverty, of welfare, of the fight to provide for her child//a story that could change the perception of the poor.
“When you write about being on government assistance, low income or you’re struggling, you’re shamed a lot for that. It’s shameful to struggle in this country because we’re told if you work hard enough you’ll make it,” Land said.
“And so if you’re not making it, you’re not working hard enough and you’ve brought it on yourself and I assumed that would be the reaction to the book. So the best seller list — all of this — has just been amazing,” she told MTN News.
The title “Maid” comes from her time cleaning houses to make ends meet. The book talks about being invisible about the constant struggle to stay afloat, the constant worry about being a good parent.
But she feels it’s a story many can tell. “I think there’s a timeliness aspect that, the government shutdown, we’re starting to hear just how easy it is to find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford groceries.”
Land, who got her degree in creative writing from the University of Montana. will be appearing on Tuesday from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Shakespeare and Company on South Third Street West in Missoula.