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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.
When the author cites as his inspiration Barbara Ehrenreich's works... I had the feeling I was not going to enjoy the book.
It was good. It was a good book. Read more
Let me preface this review with saying that I don't typically write reviews for books that I give 1 or 2 stars because I don't like having to give a book this low of a rating. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting year in the life. I found I well written and insightful. Kudos to Adam Shephard. He put himself out there into America's abyss and the reader is rewarded.Published 2 months ago by Maizenblue
...Therefore, 4 stars.
I like what the author did. I think it's a step in the right direction. Read more
This young man did something that used to be expected. Work hard, work your way up in the job or go on to other, better jobs, watch your money and be patient. Read morePublished 6 months ago by JCM
This is an inspirational read for everyone. I realize that homelessness is often a result of mental illness and substance abuse issues so Adams experiences don't apply to everyone. Read morePublished 6 months ago by jpop
Partly in response to Nickel and Dimed, a book about not making it in America, Adam shows that optimism, hard work and a little bit of luck can propel anyone to being able to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Guyzen