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Nickel and Dimed (B. Ehrenreich)

2005-10-25 2 min read Books marco

A MUST READ. I don’t care what you have read this year, you HAVE to read this book.

An incredible account: successful journalist decides to descend into the bowels of mankind and tries to balance her budget by working like a low earner and spending like a low earner. She finds out that’s impossible.

What is really shocking is that she really, really tries. Barb goes in and tries herself at waitressing, at house-maiding, at Wal-Marting. And she fails. She fails, and she fails, and ultimately she fails. She just can’t make ends meet. Sometimes it’s the job that kills her, sometimes the housing market, sometimes her ailing health.

In every case, she fails, and we are left standing with the obvious question: “If Barbara Ehrenreich and her Ph.D. in journalism can’t make it, who can?”

And frankly speaking, that’s the grandest contribution of this book: we just don’t know. Nobody really can, and we are all happy that we work in jobs that afford us Internet access and the leisure to write reviews (as in my case) or to peruse reviews (in your case).

Fact is: if you are reading this, you have more time than Barb. Simple as that. She had to work her posterior off to just make the next rent payment! And mind you, she tried all over the place, from Key West to Maine, to Minneapolis. A failure everywhere.

And unfortunately, not her fault, not anyone’s fault.

Barbara Ehrenreich single-handedly re-invented a genre: embedded journalism. You really need to read this one. You cannot escape.