From Publishers Weekly
Shetterly, who chronicled her cross-country trip from L.A. to Maine for NPR's Weekend Edition, offers this deeper look into her emotional and geographic journey. The recession hit Maine hard in late 2007. Shetterly and her husband, caught off guard, struggled to make a living. Friends in California beckoned the pair, with tales of a sunnier, more prosperous, and stable life. The optimistic young couple, together with their dog and cat, set out for Los Angeles in 2008. A year later, depressed and broke, toting a new baby and minus one pet, they drove back home to Maine, settling in with Shetterly's mother. "My anger had fueled me to the point of outrage—how could America let me down this way? How could America do this to families? Wasn't it just yesterday we were watching Sex and the City and buying fabulous ÿlifestyles' on maxed out credit cards? What had changed overnight?" In this compelling narrative, Shetterly reveals all the messy, mundane details of lives coming undone. However, as she acknowledges sadly, it's her observations on the reduced American lifestyle that give her commentary an edge. Readers would be wise to heed her commentary on the loss of our small towns, homelessness, joblessness and the increasing economic divisions between Americans. (Mar.)
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With this twenty-first-century recession memoir, Shetterly is going to get a lot of feedback from those who have found themselves in similar situations. As she carefully documents in a book that provided the framework for a series of NPR Weekend Edition diary installments, she and her husband, along with their pets, hit the highway in 2008, looking for success in California. Leaving Maine was a huge risk for the young couple, but one filled with promise, especially with potential career advancement in the entertainment industry. Instead, they faced rental traumas, an unplanned pregnancy, and the dawning realization that the economic downturn was personal. Shetterly�s willingness to address her own shortcomings makes for a deeply personal and riveting, alternately funny and poignant read. As the couple, new baby in tow, heads back east to the safety of family, she struggles to find the teachable moment in all that has gone wrong. Forget the Cleavers. Shetterly�s is the new American family, and the faster we realize that, the better we all will be at coping. --Colleen Mondor