I like how it's rated fairly low on Amazon because the reviewers' attitudes can be summed up this way: "I hate poor people, so I hate this book too."
TI like how it's rated fairly low on Amazon because the reviewers' attitudes can be summed up this way: "I hate poor people, so I hate this book too."
The major themes are "he doesn't demonize single mothers enough" and "stop portraying victims as victims! they should get over it!"
Based on the preview I got from these reviewers, I was looking forward to reading this book. Given that many of my friends growing up lived in not projects, but subsidized housing and low-income neighborhoods, I feel like these are voices that need desperately to be heard and so often are not.
This book wasn't bad, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a quick read and gives the feeling of learning interesting things while also not challengingThis book wasn't bad, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a quick read and gives the feeling of learning interesting things while also not challenging your brain too much (which after a day of reading academic works in your non-native language, is definitely a GOOD thing).
Its drawbacks are the following. The first I realize isn't quite fair, because the authors come right out and state that the book isn't intended to have an overarching point. But it simply feels disjoined and, ultimately, unsatisfying without one.
The second is the authors' lack of attention to systemic issues in the US that are directly related to some of the topics that they take up. In particular, I feel that systemic racism needs to be addressed in this book and it's not. On the one hand, I realize that what the authors are trying to do is to simply describe what's going on, rather than make moral judgements or prescriptions. I respect that and don't expect this book to be a treatise on the evils of systemic racism in the US, much as it would be personally gratifying for me to read that. At the same time, it feels like a rather large elephant in the room and deserves at least a little explanation as to why the authors choose NOT to address it in the context of the issues they take up.
My third sticking point is rather hard to nail down, but I felt an overwhelming male-ness and only a passive presence of women in the book. This is particularly weird because an entire chapter is spent on abortion. I realize that most economists are male, and basically every actor in this book is male, and that happens. But I had a creeping sense of the invisibility and passivity of women as portrayed in this book, and it nagged at me. It prevented me from really enjoying this book as I might have otherwise.
Overall, I feel like it is a fun read but was also filled with quite a few "no duh" moments - you don't say, people like in polls about how they are going to vote when race is part of the question? I wouldn't recommend to anyone not to read this book, but I would also recommend getting it from the library before making any kind of investment....more