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The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream Hardcover – September 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The circumstances of ‘Olivia’s’ true story—growing up in the servants quarters of a gated luxury suburb—may evoke Upstairs, Downstairs meets Beverly Hills 90210, but the narrative is infinitely more profound and subversive. A unique, autobiographical collaboration between two brilliant women, The Maid’s Daughter relentlessly interrogates every facet of privilege and subalternity to achieve a psychological complexity and irony worthy of a great novel.”-Mike Davis,author of Planet of Slums

"While there are numerous books examining the lives of domestic workers, in The Maid's Daughter has delved into less-studied questions...while it is often argued...that microsociological research can yield results with macrosociological implications, Romero shows this more convincingly than many."-Elizabeth J. Clifford,Ethnic and Racial Studies

"There are no inherently good and evil characters in this story--just people trying to deal with the problems that come with having too much money, or not enough."
-Los Angeles Times

"[Romero] transforms twenty years of recorded interviews with a woman referred to as 'Olivia Sanchez' into a highly readable book which juxtaposes Olivia’s story, as told to Romero, with sociological commentary, research and selected interviews with other children of domestic workers.  This thought provoking study raises many questions to wrestle with on both individual and societal levels… Open-minded readers may find their views transformed after reading this engaging narrative." -Englewood Review of Books

"A moving work that deconstructs the American Dream at the fraught intersection of race, class and gender."-Kirkus

"This detailed, intimate investigation of domestic work from the perspective of a domestic worker's child is a significant achievement that reads like a more academic Random Family."
-Publishers Weekly

"Readers who found the popular novel The Help annoyingly glib and superficial may find The Maid’s Daughter, an oral history and sociological study, astonishingly complex and often raw with emotion."
-Washington Independent

“A compelling story of how a maid's daughter moves from a girlhood of rage and resentment to a level of empowerment, as a grown woman, that will make readers want to stand up and cheer. Blending life history and cultural analysis, Mary Romero shows that it is possible to do creative ethnographic work that is of service to both the academy and society. Although the identity of Romero's protagonist must remain anonymous, her struggle will live on in this memorable book.”-Ruth Behar,author of Translated Woman

"Two decades of research culminate in the real-life story of a Mexican-American girl navigating issues of class, race, and identity in contemporary Los Angeles."
-Los Angeles Magazine

"A valuable case study and a dramatic life story, this oral history explores identity and illuminates race, class, and gender in America at a peculiarly intimate intersection between upper-middle-class white families and the women of color who provide domestic labor for them." -Library Journal

"Why read it: This isn't The Help. Romero's nonfiction book relies on 20 years of research and is an anthropological study into identity politics and the myth of meritocracy."
-Diverse Magazine

"While The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream is an emotionally draining book at times - the reader is witness to the abusive treatment of others - it is well worth the depth of experience and knowledge one gains by reading it...Author Romero has successfully encapsulated the plight and struggles of domestic workers and given the reader a great deal to contemplate."-New York Journal of Books

"Mary Romero's book The Maid's Daughter is a rich and detailed sociological account of the lives of a live-in maid and her daughter."-Jessica M. Vasquez,National Catholic Reporter

“A page-turner. The book's remarkable protagonist tells a compelling story...with each episode, the reader cannot wait for the next. How will she negotiate high school, dating, college campus politics? Mary Romero's more than two decades of research have produced a book worth waiting for.”-Renato Rosaldo,co-editor of The Anthropology of Globalization: Cultural Anthropology Enters the 21st Century

"For this sequel to her groundbreaking study on the social inequity of domestic work, Maid in the U.S.A., Romero spent two decades following Olivia, who was raised in between two worlds, living in an upscale Los Angeles house where her mother worked as a maid."-Ms. Magazine

"In her new book, The Maid’s Daughter, Romero is again the perfect scholar — respectful, curious, honest about her own orientation. She’s a listener, allowing the women she talks with to guide the way in which their stories are revealed... It’s very moving work; thoughtful, sensitive, the best possible use of scholarship to open our eyes."-Los Angeles Review of Books

About the Author

Mary Romero is Professor of Justice Studies at Arizona University. She is the author or editor of many books, including Maid in the U.S.A. In 2012, she was awarded the Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award by the Latino/Latina Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 277 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814776426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814776421
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marion S. Goldman on September 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I just finished THE MAID"S DAUGHTER. It's a book that will be read 50 years from now. And it's both great reading and an extraordinary academic contribution. This book synthesizes decades of scholarship; careful, intimate ethnography/oral history; and beautiful writing. It will have both a personal and a political impact on anyone who reads it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jessica mitchell on May 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a Sociology class. It was very educational and informative. It was also a very good, interesting story to read. It gives an in-depth look at what its like to live in two worlds....that of the rich and that of the poor immigrant.
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By Carlos on April 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My mother is housekeeper from El Salvador so I found this very touching and it hit home in many ways. If you can relate to being a maid's daughter or being the child of someone in a service industry I highly recommend this book.
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I felt this book was a real inside story to what goes on behind closed doors. Its an easy read and its very in lighting. Take a day, read the book and you will see for yourself that life is always easy on the other side.
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16 students and I read this book in my Introduction to Sociology class. My students enjoyed reading the book and found themselves thinking a great deal about class, gender, and race as well as employee-employer relationships. What we liked most about the book, which is an autobiography of a rather egocentric maid's daughter, was that the book presented the data and analysis in such a way that we, as readers, could make our own evaluations.
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