Netflix drama Maid, a show that focuses on a young woman raising her daughter in poverty, has caught the attention of many since it landed on the streaming service.
Fleeing her abusive boyfriend (played by A Teacher's Nick Robinson in the Maid cast), she takes a job as a maid, hence the title, but still finds that she is not making enough to live her life stress-free.
It is easy to see why many have found a connection with the show as they too could well be struggling to make ends meet - particularly lately with food bank usage soaring here in the UK in recent times. Other places around the world are also experiencing the struggle, so Maid feels all the more relevant.
In that sense, Maid is firmly rooted in the difficult reality of modern life, but viewers are also wondering whether Alex's specific story is factual or a work of fiction.
Is Maid on Netflix a true story?
Sadly, the hit series is indeed based on a true story, inspired by the life of author Stephanie Land that she chronicled in an acclaimed 2019 memoir called Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive.
While she was raised in a middle class household, Land fell below the poverty line later in life after developing post-traumatic stress disorder and becoming a single mother.
Many of Land's experiences discussed in the autobiography are depicted in the Maid series on Netflix, including a reliance on welfare programs, an abusive relationship, struggling to afford food and going to a homeless shelter with her daughter.
How Maid compares to Stephanie Land book
The cast of characters is much more diverse in the Netflix show, and that was a difference that Land was keen whoever took the show on considered. Speaking to Vox, Land said:
"John Wells and Margot Robbie were my last call. Up until that point, a lot of people really wanted to do a straight adaptation of the book. And to me, that sounded horrible. Because it’s such a white person story, and it’s such a privileged story. In a memoir, you’re tied to your experience, and I was very isolated. I didn’t talk to anybody. I kept thinking about the movie trailer guy saying, 'One white woman dipped into poverty — and how she got herself out'.
"John Wells and Margot Robbie proposed fictionalizing it, and bringing in a really diverse cast, and making the story look like the real world does. I love that, and so that was why I went with them."
Where is Maid set?
The location of Port Hampstead, Washington DC, where the show is set may be fictional, but it appears to be based on a real place. Stephanie Lane grew up in Port Townsend, also in Washington, and those names are far too similar to have no connection at all.
In real life, Maid was filmed in Vancouver, Canada.
The book – and by extension, the series – has been highly praised for drawing attention to an issue that is affecting more and more people each year.
Land has been vocal in her criticism of the idea that working hard will always guarantee success and security, a notion which has long provided the foundation of the so-called "American Dream".
The author worked cleaning jobs for six years before managing to secure a place at the University of Montana with financial aid coming from student loans and grants.
She was reliant on food stamps until her graduation, at which point she was able to build a career as a freelance writer, with early pieces published by Vox and The Huffington Post.
Maid reached number three on the New York Times Bestseller List upon release in January 2019, with Netflix ordering a live-action adaptation in November of the same year.