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

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
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's review
Nov 01, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in October, 2007

Initially, I thought it would be enough to say that I did not like the tone of the author/narrator. However, after having read some of the other comments on this book, I feel I need to say a little more.

The book might have been an engaging social experiment if the author/narrator took the task a little more seriously. Her ongoing flippant commentary detracted from the issue at hand. Also, I felt she never really digs deep enough into the situations she places herself in.

The book is written as a single large text divided into three sections. I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to use a diary format with dates. The reader is unable to see the progression in each situation. He or she is reliant on the author/narrator who is too busy being "snarky."

If the diary format were not desired, I wonder if it wouldn't have been better for the author/narrator to include interviews of her coworkers. Their situations were described but the book might have been more powerful if the actual words of her coworkers from the various jobs were included.

Do you remember Morgan Spurlock's show 30 Days? In one of the episodes he lives on minimum wage for 30 days. Though a completely different medium, it presented a succinct and dramatic picture of minimum wage in America. It was effective.

The book was a disappointment because it had great potential. I didn't feel there was enough thought given to the topic before the author/narrator began. However, I am hesitant to say it was a total disappointment because of the conversation it generated in my office. The book was assigned as staff reading.
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