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As a waitress in Florida, where her name is suddenly transposed to "girl," trailer trash becomes a demographic category to aspire to with rent at $675 per month. In Maine, where she ends up working as both a cleaning woman and a nursing home assistant, she must first fill out endless pre-employment tests with trick questions such as "Some people work better when they're a little bit high." In Minnesota, she works at Wal-Mart under the repressive surveillance of men and women whose job it is to monitor her behavior for signs of sloth, theft, drug abuse, or worse. She even gets to experience the humiliation of the urine test.
So, do the poor have survival strategies unknown to the middle class? And did Ehrenreich feel the "bracing psychological effects of getting out of the house, as promised by the wonks who brought us welfare reform?" Nah. Even in her best-case scenario, with all the advantages of education, health, a car, and money for first month's rent, she has to work two jobs, seven days a week, and still almost winds up in a shelter. As Ehrenreich points out with her potent combination of humor and outrage, the laws of supply and demand have been reversed. Rental prices skyrocket, but wages never rise. Rather, jobs are so cheap as measured by the pay that workers are encouraged to take as many as they can. Behind those trademark Wal-Mart vests, it turns out, are the borderline homeless. With her characteristic wry wit and her unabashedly liberal bent, Ehrenreich brings the invisible poor out of hiding and, in the process, the world they inhabit--where civil liberties are often ignored and hard work fails to live up to its reputation as the ticket out of poverty. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In this book however, Ehrenreich is very biased.
I think that this book will make a lot of people realize that they shouldn't be petty or concentrate on the materialistic things in life.
Her premise is that no one can have a decent standard of living while working for minimum wage, and I agree it's very difficult.
This was a poorly executed good idea. Among other inconsistencies, the author set herself up for failure by:
-refused to get a roommate and stayed at a hotel instead of, say,... Read more
Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a horrible book about her playing poor. Insulting to those who grew up poor.Published 7 days ago by Isabel
Great read, read it in AP lang. It really was as interesting as one would think. She does tstay primarily true to her objective and thus I appreciate the book.Published 8 days ago by sky
I read it as a "required text" in undergrad school and have been recommending and repurchasing copies ever since. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Shallegra Moye
Did not enjoy this book at all. Ehrenreich did not learn her own lesson and spends much of the book reminding the readers and herself that she's not actually poor and never really... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Ivy
It was an interesting book and the writing held my attention. It was a sobering look at the American economy and the dilemma of minimum wage workers.Published 17 days ago by Gina Russel