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How Maid differs from the book – and there are some big changes

Margaret Qualley and Andie MacDowell star in the Netflix series

netflix maid book
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
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Netflix fans have been watching Maid in their millions in recent times, and it's not hard to see why with its heartbreaking yet endearing storyline and brilliant performances from Margaret Qualley, Andie MacDowell and more.

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Many will be aware the drama is based on the New York Times best-selling memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, by Stephanie Land and tells the story of a single mother struggling to make ends meet after leaving an abusive relationship. But just how does the show compare to the book? We found out…

WATCH: Are you watching Maid on Netflix?

Netflix's Maid changed some names

Firstly, the Netflix show has changed a few of the names from the original memoir. In the show, Alex, played by Margaret Qualley, escapes a volatile relationship with her ex, Sean. However, in the book the name of her ex is Jamie. In addition, the book names Alex's daughter's as Mia – while in the show, she is known as Maddy.

It's not known exactly why these changes were made, but showrunner Molly Smith Metzler opened up to Elle about making the drama, explaining how the book and series are two separate entities. "The memoir is riveting to read, but it is an extremely lonely experience for Stephanie Land," she began.

"She doesn't talk to anybody. I wanted to capture how isolating her experience is, but it's not amazing TV for a character to not interact with anybody, so our first challenge was to populate the world and also to make sure she felt very alone."

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maid netflix book© Photo: Netflix

Margaret Qualley as Alex in Maid

Netflix's Maid features Alex's parents

This perhaps explains the next major change – the addition of Alex's parents. In the book, as Molly outlined, Alex does not interact with anyone, whereas in the show she does have a somewhat testing relationship with her mother, Paula (played by Margaret's real life mum, Andie MacDowell).

Paula suffers from bi-polar and is unable to protect her daughter Alex, while Alex's father Hank left her daughter traumatised by abusing her mother when she was a child.

Four Weddings and a Funeral star Andie opened up about taking on the challenging role of Paula, admitting that witnesses her own mother going through difficult times made the part a "comfortable fit." She told USA today: "I understand the complexity of a broken person, a person that you love regardless [of] how difficult they are. So it was a comfortable fit for me."

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maid 1© Photo: Netflix

Netflix's Maid has been a big hit

Netflix's Maid works on a different timeline

The drama takes place through a different timeline in comparison to the book. This is perhaps unsurprising given the Netflix series squeeze the story in ten episodes, while a book can expand and lengthen a story.

The memoir depicts Alex's car crash, with her baby in the back seat, in the middle of the story, whereas this scene is the opener for episode one and leads to Alex getting back in touch with her father. Either way, both tell gripping stories and have proven to be big hits in their own right.

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