In her new book, "The Maid's Daughter," Arizona State professor Mary Romero tells the true story of "Olivia," the pseudonym of a woman in her forties who grew up in a gated Westside community where her mother worked as the maid of a Hollywood agent. Olivia went on to attend UCLA and now owns a PR business, according to LAT columnist Hector Tobar, who interviews her about the book and her story. From his latest column:
The Smiths started making decisions about Olivia's education, enrolling her at a private school and paying her tuition. They took her along on family outings while her mother stayed at the home, cooking and cleaning.
"They would try to pass me off as their own," Olivia recalled of the Smiths. "There wasn't anything I hated more." Deep down she wished she could stay home with her mother and watch telenovelas.
As she grew older, Olivia bristled as the Smiths tried to incorporate her into their social circles, resisting invitations to Westside "cotillions." In high school, she took to wearing buttons that loudly proclaimed her ethnic identity and rebellious attitude: one with the farmworkers' eagle that Cesar Chavez made famous, and another that proclaimed: "Turn Down Harvard."
Tobar's own new book, "The Barbarian Nurseries," is a novel set in Los Angeles with a Mexican nanny at the center of the story.