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Nickel And Dimed! The Book On How To Get By In A Merica While Making No More Than $8/Hour.

1644 words - 7 pages

Black and White of Nickel and DimedDo you ever wonder what it would be like to work two jobs and still be poor? Ever think what it would be like to be unable to afford some of the simple luxuries that we all sometimes take for granted? In America, the greatest country of all we have come to know, millions of people are doing just that: working two or even three jibs, yet, being unable to make ends meet.Barbara Ehrenreich is a well known writer, journalist who published twelve books, many of them best-sellers, has a PhD in Biology and simply a woman. Author began the task, which she was hoping someone else would do, "someone much younger..., some hungry neophyte journalist with time on her hands (p.1-2). So she sets off to do "old-fashioned journalism," leaving behind the comforts of her air-conditioned office and beautiful house.Ehrenreich works three non-consecutive months in Florida as a waitress, in Maine as a housekeeper and a made and in Minnesota in retail Wal-Mart, receiving minimum wage, no benefits and trying to survive. And before all this she made rules like do not mention her PhD, pretend to be a divorced house-wife, take a highest-paying unskilled position, live only off the money made in those low-wage jobs and take the cheapest accommodations that she could find which would offer and acceptable level of safety and privacy, which is most likely far away from the fact of the real "homes" of poor workers. Could someone with this level of education be able to do this realistically? Would Barbara Ehrenreich would be able to follow these rules without breaking them or falling back on her inherent knowledge?As for me, I did not think she will follow her rules and really walk that mile of the poor people and my expectations were proven as I've read the book. The opinion I formed by reading Nickel and Dimed was not strong neither way perhaps because I myself had an experience as a low-wage worker, as a "poor student" (that's how I like to call myself sometimes), which of course is very different from being one for the rest of my life. Before getting into the negative aspects of this book I would like to take a look at some positive ones, that are also present and it would be shameful not to identify with them.Author has a very noble pursuit, to serve justice to the harsh arrangements the government decided on. She very precisely describes working conditions and impressions of people the author works with, the places she visits, along with the housing that she can afford which often smells of a "mixture of fresh paint and what [she] eventually identifies as mouse droppings." The book was very insightful, which often utilized a sense of humor to represent the lifestyle of poverty. This helped the reader to understand poverty without feeling uncomfortable or disenchanted with the difficult topic at hand. This book will make one think of welfare reform in a very different way. It would shed light on the fact that some poor people are...

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