The bestselling author of Maid, returns with a second memoir. 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.
[A] compelling but incomplete story ... Land is dead-on in her analysis of the various ways our society makes poverty all but inescapable ... When Class turned personal however, I felt distanced, sometimes even skeptical; Land the writer was keeping the full implications of her choices (and therefore the reader) at bay ... In many ways, Class feels much more candid than Maid, but in revealing the intimate details of her life, Land becomes pugnacious, forcing us to explore our own prejudices. This is a challenge to readers, but also a frustration ... Excels at pulling the reader into the story in visceral prose; where it falters is in processing that experience from the point of view of someone older, wiser and — let’s face it — a bestselling author and a producer of her own Netflix adaptation. Older Land has little room for any critique of her younger self. Social lessons abound; personal lessons are undisclosed.
Land bears her soul and psyche, offering readers a look at her inner life with excruciating honesty. We get an intimate, utterly revealing sense of the anxiety generated by a bare kitchen cupboard ... Land ends the book with her status unresolved — although it would have been easy enough for her to conclude on a far more gratifying note. Instead, we are left seething at the inequalities of our system.
A moving rumination ... Incredible and heart-wrenching ... As infuriating as it is inspiring, and it should be considered required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in narratives of wealth and work, the lived experience of prejudicial U.S. safety net systems, or social justice.