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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I saw Ms. Ledbetter interviewed by Rachel Maddow and ordered the book on my Kindle before the interview was half over. Ms. Ledbetter's ordeal at Goodyear is appalling. The sexual harassment, the vilification, and the unfair pay would be enough to drive anyone over the edge. But not Ms. Ledbetter. She was determined to prove herself, even in that unprovable environment.

I often found myself wondering if those sexist pigs are reading about themselves in her book. I wonder if any of them have the grace to be embarrassed.

Kudos, however, to the the anonymous party who slipped her a note listing her salary as compared to her peers, who earned approximately twice what she did. That started the process that led to a successful lawsuit and a new law.

I have since seen Ms. Ledbetter interviewed on other TV forums. She presents herself well. Thank you, Ms.Ledbetter, for all you are and do.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This book recounts the odyssey of Lilly Ledbetter, a lady from Alabama who picked cotton in the rural South as a little girl and then grew up to become the spokesperson for Equal Pay for Equal Work. As it turns out, after working for Goodyear for nearly twenty years she discovered that her pay was significantly lower than that of her male counterparts. Many of whom had treated her horrendously throughout her tenure at the Gadsden Goodyear plant. She took her case to court and discovered how mighty the powers of corporate America can be. I'm still reeling from the shock of learning that my law school days trial skills professor, Judge John Ott, initially granted Goodyear's request for a summary judgement in her case. It seems so contrary to his demeanor and decency. And I find that her description of Jay St. Clair, the Goodyear defense attorney, to be very accurate. As he's quite gregarious and friendly, but nonetheless a very economically minded supply side corporate defense attorney. Anyway, her story is a true example of how perseverance for justice can triumph in our country, even when the Supreme Court comes down with such a ridiculous verdict as it did in her case. Since thankfully, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act into law ensuring that future generations won't fall victim to the same type of twisted rulings as Lilly Ledbetter faced on appeal. (Sorry, but in this case one cannot remain unbiased as her story is one of the most solid cases of pay discrimination I've ever heard of.) The book isn't the most fluid read, but it is nonetheless a very informative and a very inspiring read. I found my eyes welling up with tears throughout the book. There are elements of Southern Culture in the book, such as the tense relationship between Lilly and her Mother. (While by no means applicable to every Southern family, it is a motif I have encountered a lot in my home state of Alabama.) And one cannot help but sympathize with Lilly as she enters the workforce trying to build a better life for her family.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Lily Ledbetter's Grace and Grit is essential reading for everyone--both women and men. The book accurately portrays the struggle of women to obtain equal pay, equal rights, and equal treatment in the workplace and home. But more broadly, it reveals ingrained attitudes--from blue-collar workers to Supreme Court justices--that "keep women in their place." Perhaps more important, this book portrays a broad swatch of American sociology, as symbolized by Goodyear Tire and its demeaning corporate policies, that is often ignored in media coverage and discussions of American life.

Grace and Grit is well-written (you'll have trouble putting it down), a credit to both Lily Ledbetter and writer Lanier Scott Isom, who deserve the thanks of all Americans for bringing this story to print.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a well-written, gripping memoir (until you get to the yawn-inducing legal stuff at the end ;-}) of an earnest American woman's life & times: from her childhood to her yearned-for high school sweetheart marriage & adjustments + kids + that crazy isolated too young & not enough money motherhood, on into the '70s when she tries her hand at tax preparation & with her affinity for numbers rapidly rises to office manager & then area manager.

Still, the Goodyear plant in Gadsden, Alabama was THE place most everyone in that area wanted to work at cuz it meant a better, steadier way of life (a myth cuz layoff rumors were frequent & used to keep workers 'in line') even if the process of making tires was a major hazard to workers' health no matter their gender which was, of course, 100% male. However, those males' attitude toward this uppity blonde (who was no ditz... she'd just had no brothers to contend with!) for taking one of their jobs & then expecting to supervise 'em... well... that just wasn't right, so... almost to a man they turned that plant into a gender hostile workplace.

I lost count of all the ways those workers, especially her immediate superiors, made her their hazing, sexual prey upon whom they acted out (with impunity, mind you!) their own perceived fears & frustrations with management, women/wives in general, & orders from higher up.

It took all of Lilly Ledbetter's career there, much of her marriage & most of her health to survive the obstacle course they put her through, even as other supervisors were handing her awards. It all culminated when a worker ahead of her let a piece of machinery close behind him, trapping her beneath it, unable to release herself until he chose. At that point, the brilliant idea occurred to our intrepid heroine that she really didn't have to put up with this stuff!

What finally made her angry, however, was a handwritten note left where she'd find it on which were enumerated her salary along with those of her co-supervisors - the same ones who'd been hired on with her, all those years ago. That's what got her to a lawyer & an alphabet soup of regulatory commissions, then on to a jury trial & a positive verdict which Goodyear got dismissed. Then on to the Supreme Court, eventually standing beside President Obama in 2009 as he signed into law THE LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY RESTORATION ACT.

As a secretary, I quit working in such toxic workplaces after a few years, yet I totally got why one of Goodyear's rare women workers, Sharon, quit floor supervising to go back to being a 'mere' secretary: "... I didn't complain, because I was a single mother with a handicapped child, and I knew my job would be in jeopardy if I started..." p.187.

I kept wondering, all the way through, how would these same men have reacted were other men in other workplaces to do to their wives, as they themselves were doing to Lilly, & if anything's changed now?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Lilly Ledbetter is what they call in the South a "steel magnolia". She scraped and sacrificed for her family. In this very candid memoir, this southern lady shares her story of trying to make it in a world of change. Her big break was a position at the Goodyear plant. There Ledbetter hoped for more opportunity and better pay.
What she discovers, years after the fact, that she was paid much lower than her male counterparts. Rather than smile and fade into the background, Ledbetter took on this multi-million dollar corporation to point out how she was wronged. Her case went all the way to the Supreme Court and she ended up losing. However, her fight led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act of 2009. This would ensure that what happen to her will not happen to other women.
In this book, Ledbetter speaks of her family, her passion of ballroom dancing, and the thrill to dance with the newly sworn President Obama at his inauguration. Her life is full of twist and turns and now she is an advocate for women's working rights.
An inspirational story of how one woman can make a difference.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A great example of why it's so hard to prove unfair and why many do nothing. In reading this book I kept thinking, well that doesn't sound to horrible, but then I had a light bulb moment. This isn't fiction, it's not fantasies to be horrific. This woman went to work, loved her job, wanted to do more and just wanted to be treated equally - not better - just equal. A unique perspective on how one voice can make a difference. A great way to read about history and it not be through a history book too. Thank you for sharing your story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
As a woman, I have experienced the occasional sexual discrimination, but it's a walk in the park compared to what Lilly Ledbetter endured. Most people would have left their company after years of tormenting. It's no wonder Lilly was only a small handful of female managers in her area, even in the late 90s.

The prose is fairly easy to follow and to-the-point. My only complaint is that Lilly sometimes comes off as a little whiny. However, when she starts feeling sorry for herself, she does tend to balance it out such as when she feels overwhelmed with her mother's behavior, but then feels guilty about it.

I think this is a good read for anyone who thinks everyone's got a fair shake these days. You'll be surprised.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
What a remarkable story. Thankfully, for me and women all over the U.S., there are women born with a lot more "grit" in their little fingers than I have in my entire body. Be it the suffragettes fighting for women's right to vote, or Lilly Ledbetter fighting for equal pay, I am in awe of their determination and courage. I saw Mrs. Ledbetter on The Colbert show and resolved to buy her book as I feel it's the only way I have to say "Thank you." Time and time again she was forced to choose this fight over her husband, her children, her grandchildren. I would be reading and shaking my head thinking 'There is no way I could do this.' How fortunate for so many that she stayed with it. For me, some parts had too much detail and other parts not enough - for only that reason I gave this 4 stars and not 5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book was very well written and always kept me wanting to turn the page. I was amazed at how I kept wanting to read more and more about her! This was not a typical boring autobiography. This is the story of her life told vividly through great detail!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of meeting Lilly Ledbetter and to get a signed copy of her book. I was struck by how petite and soft-spoken Mrs. Ledbetter is, especially knowing everything she went through at Goodyear. I was thrilled to personally shake her hand and say "thank you" for having the tenacity and courage to stand up for her beliefs. The story of Lilly Ledbetter and her work situation at Goodyear Tire Company is a study in persistence, determination and bravery. How many of us would have had the staying power and courage of Lilly Ledbetter?

The title of her book says it all: Grace and Grit: My Fight For Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond. Her story is a fascinating and extremely truthful autobiography.

Mrs. Ledbetter sacrificed much in her life to stand up for her beliefs. She worked her job at Goodyear diligently but was often sabotaged by many of men with whom she worked. One day she found a handwritten note in her company mailbox. That note changed the course of her life. Someone had left her an anonymous note with the amount of money she and three male counterparts were making doing the same job. She was shocked at the wage disparity.

Lilly Ledbetter decided to take action in 1998 and with that handwritten note she began her fight for equal pay. Her efforts were rewarded on January 29, 2009 as President Barack Obama signed into law the The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.

Her well-written book (with Lainier Scott Isom) also contains the complete Act, additional resources available to workingwomen today and further reading suggestions on the subjects of equal rights and equal pay.

I highly recommend Grace and Grit as a must read for all women in business. I personally believe it is important to read about where we have been so we can better understand how to get to where we want to be in the future.
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