This audiobook is hard to listen to but harder to stop. There’s a reason this one is a bestseller that’s been adapted into a raw and moving Netflix series. Have a listen to Land’s brutal and desperate reflections as she writes about her years struggling to survive as she attempted to care for her young daughter.
This non-fiction work exposes the cracks in a crumbling system as it highlights the futile resources that are in place to “aid” those who need it most. At its core, this is a compelling book that illustrates the lengths a parent will go for their child. But it’s also about economic disparity; it begs the question of the middle class and beyond. It begs them not to look away or dismiss the challenges of those in poverty as mere “laziness”. Instead, it is unfiltered and unapologetic in its representation of the many plights of the poor, the fact that social safety nets are more or less useless, and that it is in fact, assuredly not a work ethic problem. While never explicit, the reader walks away knowing the aching question at the center of this book- does it really have to be so hard?
Land dares you to look away, but the story is so classically enthralling, you’re never truly tempted to look anywhere but the next chapter. It’s a classic episode of will she or won’t she get out of these traps life keeps laying for her, and it’s all the more compelling because it’s all true. Her trials and triumphs were and are real, and that makes it all the more tragic and inspiring.
In a system that sets so many up for failure, it’s a testament to Land’s tenacity that she did eventually get out. This tale of struggle is encapsulated with a thoughtful, desperate heart, and we highly recommend binge-listening. And also maybe tipping your cleaning lady.