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Adam Shepard graduated from college in the summer of 2006 feeling disillusioned by the apathy he saw around him and incensed after reading Barbara Ehrenreich's famous works Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch—books that gave him a feeling of hopelessness over the state of the working class in America. Eager to see if he could make something out of nothing, he set out to prove wrong Ehrenreich's theory that those who start at the bottom stay at the bottom, and to see if the American Dream can still be a reality.
Shepard's plan was simple. Carrying only a sleeping bag, the clothes on his back, and $25 in cash, and restricted from using previous contacts or relying on his college education, he set out for a randomly selected city with one objective: work his way out of homelessness and into a life that would give him the opportunity for success. His goal was to have, after one year, $2,500, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.
But from the start, things didn't go as smoothly as Shepard had planned. Working his way up from a Charleston, South Carolina homeless shelter proved to be more difficult than he anticipated, with pressure to take low-paying, exploitive jobs from labor companies, and a job market that didn't respond with enthusiasm to homeless applicants. Shepard even began donating plasma to make fast cash. To his surprise, he found himself depending most on fellow shelter residents for inspiration and advice.
Earnest, passionate, and hard to put down, Scratch Beginnings is a story that will not only inspire readers, but will also remind them that success can come to anyone who is willing to work hard—and that America is still one of the most hopeful and inspiring countries in the world.
First, I really believe this book is a fake account, but assuming it is real, he's lucky that he didn't get beaten, raped and robbed living under a tarp. Read morePublished 26 days ago by RealGreen
not very well written book about a young man's voluntary experiences in the lower part of american society.Published 1 month ago by G. Aladro
This book is a must read for everyone from recent high school graduates to retirees. It puts the American Dream back into perspective. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Hunter
This book starts out with a very interesting premise: a guy with limited real-life experience starts with nothing and attempts to claw his way out of homelessness. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Christopher Plank
This book is based on a lie.
He pretends to be homeless, and thus uses up people's time and the shelter's resources for no real need. Read more
I'm a slow reader. It took me a year to finish reading this book, but that's notwithstanding. I bought this book when I was homeless for the 3rd time in my life and it was 1 of the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Derrick Barychovac
Great social experiment, but the narrative fell short of my expectations and the conclusions seemed like an after thought.Published 5 months ago by Patricia L. Rice
The working class is dead? Its an interesting question once you think about it. As a high school sociology teacher this is the book that is required reading for the class. Read morePublished 8 months ago by That guy..Today.