By now most of us have seen or at the very least hard about Maid, one of the top five shows on Netflix that has reached more than 67 million households since its release in October according to Forbes. In just six weeks Maid became the most-watched limited series ever on the streaming platform’s history. Maid isn’t just a riveting a story it’s a true story that was based off the New York Best Selling memoir by Stephanie Land Hard Work, Low Pay, and A Mother’s Will To Survive. It’s impossible to watch the ten-episode series without feeling touched and inspired. So I decided to read Stephanie Land’s memoir myself to hear her story from her own words. I wasn’t disappointed. However, like most dramas inspired by true stories there were distinct differences between the memoir and the screen adaption. Here are four noteworthy differences between Land’s memoir and Netflix’s maid that I thought was really interesting:
1. The main characters names are changed
As expected in the screen adaption of Stephanie Land’s memoir all of the main characters have been given different names. Her abusive ex-boyfriend Jamie becomes Sean in the series and their daughter Mia is named Maddy. In the memoir Land’s parents are unnamed and are mentioned briefly. Nevertheless in Maid her parents are Hank and Paula.
2. The showrunner completely fictionalizes Land’s interaction with the people in her life
In the memoir, Stephanie is completely alone. She doesn’t have a lot of people in her life that she interacts with. It’s just her and her daughter. However, for the sake of creating “good tv,” the showrunner had to populate the main character’s world. For instance, in the book Land’s relationship with her parents take up very little landscape. Yet in the show, she spends a great deal of time trying to help her mentally ill mother. In the memoir, Stephanie stayed with her dad for a few months with her daughter when she left her ex but she left when she found out that her dad had been abusive to her mom. Even though the main character has much more interaction with others in the series the writers did a great job at capturing how alone Alex was essentially staying true to the memoir. We can feel Alex’s desperation when she realizes she can’t look to her parents for help when she spends the night at the ferry station with Maddy when they have no place to go and when clobbers through a maze of loopholes to qualify for state benefits.
3. Land’s love life is basically nonexistent
In the memoir, Land only mentions her abusive ex-husband who we know as Jamie in past references. She briefly touched on incidents of physical abuse and talks about the brutal custody battle, they were in. However, in Maid we get an in-depth look into the main character’s relationship with her troubled ex. We see the happy moments that Alex experiences with Sean only for her glimmer of hope to shatter to pieces when he throws a vase at her end when he comes home drunk the next day. Yes, we ride the ups and downs of Alex’s relationship with Sean and boy is it a bumpy ride. As the series progresses, we even learn why Sean drinks and why he’s so angry. Sean is a victim of abuse and experienced trauma at a young age. Although we gain a better understanding of his character it doesn’t excuse his behavior. I like that the writers of the show doesn’t confine Alex’s romantic experiences with the opposite sec to her abusive relationship. There’s the cute tinder date that went wrong and the failed romance between Alex and her old coworker Nate.
4. In the memoir Land doesn’t have a special relationship with any of her clients
In the book, Land meets a lot of different people in her job as a maid. In the memoir she meets her devoted elderly man caring for his ailing wife, a hoarder desperate for help and a married couple that sleeps in different bedrooms. Land’s unique experiences with her clients are also depicted in the film. However, in the memoir Land doesn’t develop any type of lasting bond with her clients. A major part of Alex’s storyline in Maid is the relationship she develops with one of her client’s a rich and powerful black attorney stuck in a horrible marriage. Regina is cold towards Alex when they first meet. She views Alex as her servant. Eventually, the two women learn a lot about life through the other and by the end of the series Regina doesn’t just become a good friend to Alex she becomes an ally in helping her get away from her abusive ex for good and getting her a big time lawyer to gain legal full custody of her daughter.
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