Erin's Reviews > Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
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Jan 25, 2008

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended for: upper-middle class Americans
Read in January, 2008

I wanted to start out by giving this book a harsh review. I spent the first quarter being annoyed by Ehrenreich's tone: especially her consistent attitude of amazement that this is what people live like. Nearly every paragraph was met with a "well, duh" from me or a "oh poor little you". The strange mixture of awe and contempt that suffused the book never stopped making me wince.

And then, I came to a startling (if obvious) revelation. This book was not for me.

If you're someone who already recognizes the deplorable conditions and near-impossible odds poverty-level Americans face, then this book will make you roll you want to punch the author a little bit.

If you're not, then this book is for you. Ehrenreich does an excellent job of confronting the most rampant of poor stereotypes and, more often than not, finds them completely false. I imagine that it'd be an eye-opening book.
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