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

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
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's review
Nov 10, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: fun-nonfiction
Read in January, 2003

A fun experiment, if not so well done: Ehrenreich tries to survive for ~1 month in each of three different places with nothing but a low-wage job. As she points out clearly, she starts out with huge advantages -- the ability to make a deposit on an apartment, a car, and the knowledge that she can always fall back on her middle-class healthcare if things get really bad -- but even still it's not very easy. Because the experiments are so short, and because of that safety net, it's hard to say how accurate this is: you develop strategies to survive in unpleasant situations, and a month just isn't long enough. But her experiences are simultaneously funny and awful and that's the real strength of the book.

And I'm definitely going to avoid using a corporate maid service, ever.

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