Pinto, Katy M.
Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews, 43, 112-114
Publication year: 2014

The current climate for immigrant youth in the United States serves as the backdrop for Mary Romero’s book, The Maid’s Daughter. The larger current political debate surrounding the rights of undocumented youth serves as a reminder of how much social context matters in determining individual life chances. The current context of criminalizing immigrants sets a very negative stage for the future of immigrant youth. For vulnerable and often invisible groups like the children of immigrants, Mary Romero’s 20-year study highlights the struggles and powerlessness that children often experience as immigrants in the United States. In addition, her book highlights the experiences of immigrant youth as they struggle to adopt a new culture and still keep their own immigrant culture by following “Olivia Salazar” as an immigrant in both a familiar and foreign setting.

The Maid’s Daughter contributes to existing scholarship that examines the immigrant experience in the United States. However, it uniquely contributes to this scholarship by giving a voice to the experience of immigrant children. The book is based on interviews that span 20 years with “Olivia Salazar” who is the daughter of a live-in maid for a wealthy family in a gated community, “Liberty Place,” in Los Angeles. Romero points out early on in the book that she first struggled with the presentation of Olivia’s story and wondered best how …