Stack writes, unflinchingly, about what it was like for her world to shrink and her life to entwine with the lives of her hired help—who left their own kids behind in order to work in her home. The result is messy, self-critical, probing and fascinating ... She also works to turn her own daily 'postmodern feminist breakdown' into an exploration of the ways that domestic work has and continues to shape women’s realities ... Stack’s writing is sharp and lovely, especially in the first section of the book as she deftly describes her plunge into new motherhood and yearlong journey to find herself again ... the one way the book didn’t fully succeed was in sharing these women’s full perspectives ... In this book, the tough questions Stack asks are of herself.
Memoirs about motherhood are exceedingly common, but Women’s Work dares to explore the labor arrangements that often make such books possible ... Stack writes sharp, pointed sentences that flash with dark insight ... Women’s Work is so full of keen insights and shrewd observations that by the time Stack arrived at her What Needs to Be Done moment, a mere six pages from the end, she had already won me over so fully that I was only mildly exasperated when she landed on this: 'The answer is the men' ... [Stack's] wan conclusion to an otherwise fearless book feels like a bit of a put-on and a bit of a cop-out.
Stack, who had stints in Jerusalem, Cairo, Moscow and Beijing for the Los Angeles Times, is a natural storyteller with an eye for detail ... This is a painfully honest investigation of what kind of compromises women make by hiring other women to do the grunt work ... Stack confronts a reality that many try not to think about: Who are the women who care for my children and clean my house? ... a double-edged indictment: of those, including Stack, who exploit domestic helpers in their desire to remain relevant in work but also of the men who abdicate responsibility ... In an unflinching way, Stack pulls the curtain back on the truths of women’s lives, especially the domestic part: how women make it work.