America,  Book Reviews,  FOUR STARS ****,  NON FICTION

Nickled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich **** (of 4)

I wasn’t expecting to learn much, especially after the book’s introduction. A Ph.D., upper-class (relatively speaking), journalist and author agrees to foresake her ordinary life to try to make her income match her expenses as a member of the working poor. She takes jobs as a waitress, Wal-Mart floor worker, and maid and you expect her to be miserable. The book works because the author is downright irreverent. She’s sassy, not prissy, cusses like a truck-driver, and introduces you to real people that we ordinarily don’t ever get a chance to cross paths with. Rather than being preachy, as I expected she would be, Ehrenreich tells her story, the stories of real working poor, fills in with national statistics, and insightful analysis without ever becoming pedantic. It’s good writing. July 2005.