Women’s Work: A Reckoning with Work and Home

Megan K. Stack. Doubleday, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-54209-8
Journalist Stack (Every Man in This Village Is a Liar) reflects in this painfully forthcoming memoir about her own domestic employees. From her position as a white American expat in Beijing and Delhi, Stack documents the trade-offs, exploitative dynamics, and conflicts that arise when the home is also a workplace. After leaving her job as a foreign correspondent, she hired local women to perform the domestic work that would otherwise keep her from freelance writing, including watching her child . The first two sections of the book record in punctilious detail the draining physical labor of childbirth and new motherhood (C-sections, sleep training) and Stack’s interactions with Chinese and Indian nannies—cropping them out of photographs and treating their personal problems callously (later in the book, she acknowledges one nanny’s sick daughter as “the girl whose rightful allotment of nurturing care I had rented and whose brush with death had been a household inconvenience”). In part three, Stack activates her journalistic lens, exploring the nannies’ lives and the sacrifices they made to work for her. Stack indicts this system and her family’s participation in it (“I can’t shake the feeling that I bought something... that should not be for sale”) but shies away from actually considering any alternatives. This memoir will appeal more to parents in similar situations than to readers seeking ideas for social change. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 05/31/2019
Release date: 04/02/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-385-54210-4
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-525-43195-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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