Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich

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In 2000 and 2001, Journalist Barbara Ehrenreich put her comfortable life aside and worked low-paying jobs, including as a waitress, a cleaning woman, and a Wal-Mart associate, and tried to see if she could make ends meet on minimum wage. [Images of a woman dressed as a journalist (with pen and paper), a waitress, a Wal-Mart employee (with blue vest), and a cleaning woman (with cleaning supplies).] It was a struggle that she didn't always win, and this story of poverty even in a time of prosperity can be eye-opening. Too bad Ehrenreich is judgmental, hypocritical, and spends a lot of time othering the people whose side she is supposedly on in this book.

Challenged for: "drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint"
"Oh no, reading this will expose people to viewpoints different from my own!"

Good for: People who have never worked a cruddy job, nor known anyone who has, because behind how annoying Ehrenreich is there is an important message. But if you've ever worked for minimum wage, none of this will come as a surprise, so you can skip it! In fact, everyone skip this book and just read her 2011 10-year-anniversary afterward instead.


Alicia said:On Sep 30, 11 at 6:55pm

I felt so annoyed with her after reading this book. I think I was especially frustrated because she had a lot of good information, but her own attitude was such a turnoff that it didn't resonate the way it should have.

Audrey said:On Sep 30, 11 at 6:59pm

It's kind of scary how frequently we agree on things.

Jeremy Beck said:On Oct 04, 11 at 1:28am

Morgan Spurlock did a similar thing on his TV show, called "30 Days." It was actually him with his wife and a couple kids they had borrowed, to simulate an average family living on minimum wage. I imagine that a year would be an entirely depressing endeavor.

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