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

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
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's review
Feb 18, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011-books, book-club
Read from February 10 to 16, 2011

This month's book club hostess chose this book because of the controversy surrounding it -- it had been assigned to students in the high school personal finance class, and due to protests by a couple of parents who objected to the author's depiction of Christians at the tent revival meeting, the book was banned by the school board. With several club members having kids in the high school, we decided to read the book for ourselves to see what all the fuss was about, and certainly had a lively discussion. We seemed to agree, however, that the religious dig was such a small, minor part of her account, and that any intelligent reader could distinguish between her reporting and editorializing on what transpired at the meeting and something being presented as fact. We also agreed that our children, who live in relative privilege and comfort, wouldn't truly understand or appreciate this book until they'd had more life experience (ie dealt with college, job hunting, bills, etc.) Not sure this really belongs in the high school curriculum, but certainly it shouldn't have been banned because a few people felt offended -- that's censorship. This book could even be valuable for at-risk students -- a realistic look at what their future could be if they don't finish their education and think they'll get by working at WalMart the rest of their lives.


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