Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book: Nickel and Dimed

Subtitle: On (Not) Getting By in America

by Barbara Ehrenreich

I read this book while on hiatus from Not Buying It, which was both too boring and too depressing to carry on reading at the time. Nickel and Dimed tends toward the depressing side as well, although the writing is far superior and the social commentary vastly more concise, appropriate and compelling. Yes, Ehrenreich was also writing about an experience constructed purely to produce the fodder for a book, but let's face it, she just did a much better job. For one, thing, her jokes are funnier. I couldn't put Ehrenreich's book down and finished it in only a couple days. It was fascinating, and it made me want to get off my butt and put my nice shiny college degree to good use.

I would recommend Nickel and Dimed to anyone, especially anyone with even the slightest interest in economics or the effects of employment on class in the US. If you ever wanted to know what it's like to wait tables in a greasy spoon or clean toilets for a living, it's much easier to read this book than to go out and experience it first hand. It was certainly enough insight for me, and the entire time I was reading it, I just kept thinking how lucky and privileged I am to be able to get a better sort of job than the people in that book. Soo lucky. Thank you, stepfather, for paying for my college. Thank you Dean Tidmarsh for keeping me from dropping out. Lucky, blessed, and grateful am I.

I notice while adding links for this post that a quote by Ehrenreich praising Levine's book appears at the top of Levine's book page. Well, I'm glad she liked it. That makes one of us.

Nickel and Dimed is definitely worth a read, though. Enjoy.

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