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The maid's daughter : living inside and outside the American dream
Mary Romero
Adult Nonfiction HD6072.2.U5 R674 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Romero, professor of justice and social inquiry at Arizona State University, offers the culmination of two decades of research in her scholarly sociological portrait of class, race, and family as she follows Olivia Salazar, daughter of a maid, Carmen, employed by a wealthy family in Los Angeles. Romero examines Olivia's tenuous place in the family, both the employers' and Olivia's own. Olivia is "the maid's daughter," yet the employers have her eat at the table while Carmen serves the food, and sleep in an upstairs bedroom while Carmen inhabits the maid's quarters. Olivia's confrontations with issues of class, race, and identity saturate typical coming-of-age issues such as dating: her mother's employers want her to date white boys from the private school for which they sign tuition checks, while Olivia, seeking her place in the Mexican-American community, favors Chicanos. Romero interviews Olivia through childhood and college life and social activism through adulthood, shows how the girl who started out as "maid's daughter" crossed perceived class boundaries; her story represents "a microcosm of power relationships in the larger society." Although Romero's choice to remain a presence in the text and to intersperse her voice with Olivia's, lends the book some choppiness, 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. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Mexican-born Carmen settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s as a live-in maid with her young daughter, Olivia. Aside from occasional visits to relatives in impoverished Mexican neighborhoods, Olivia lived her childhood and teen years with Carmen's primary employer, the Smiths, who in ways embraced Olivia as one of their own-from paying for her education to, many years later, inscribing her name on a Smith family gravestone. Over the course of 20 years, social justice scholar Romero interviewed the adult Olivia about her childhood experiences. Olivia's knowledge of two disparate communities gave her broad social capital and a high degree of social confidence, but her cultural competence was muddied while growing up by her proximity to privilege, with her access to the fruits of privilege strictly limited. VERDICT At once 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. With Romero's analysis, extensive footnotes, and a through bibliography, it will be of greater interest to scholars than to casual readers of memoir.-Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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