I agree with those who believe this author imagines, due to her own privileged background, that people who start out with no advantages have few options and little hope. As someone who had nothing at all handed to me and now, in my early forties, makes more than many of my friends who hold an MBA (I never went to college), and in a very normal white collar business where I simply dedicated myself and worked hard from the very bottom up, I obviously have a very different perspective on what people with a good work ethic and determination can accomplish. It's all about personal responsibility and, sometimes, hard choices (choose not to have 2-3 kids out of wedlock if you want to increase your chances of success, for example). Even so, speaking objectively, it's still a worthwhile read and story - I am always someone who wants to read the other side and consider.
The negative reactions to this book may be caused by the occasionally arch tone of the reader. The choice of which words to emphasize sometimes makes the author sound supercilious. However, this is a close and personal look behind the statistics we tend to ignore, or pay only cursory attention. It is a healthy thing for those of us who are not the working poor, to have a look at the fragile existence of those struggling to get by on low wages. The writing is excellent, of course, and engaging.
Listening to this book can be a real downer. Americans like to think that anyone who works, and works hard enough, can rise in our socio-economic hierarchy. In fact, however, the poor (i.e. low-paid wage workers) are basically locked into a system that keeps them poor. The author paints a bleak, depressing picture of the very real obstacles to "moving up" from the bottom in American society. The author's months spent "posing" as a late entry to the work-a-day world (as a waitress, an institutional health-are worker, a house cleaner, and a Wall-Mart jack-of-all-trades) paints a grim, grim picture of a reality that might likely break most all of us (i.e. non-entry-level low-wage workers).
As the gap between the richest and poorest strata of our society widens, we owe it to ourselves to revise our bootstrap myth realistically. It's not a fun read, but it's certainly an important one.
One might have wished, though, that the narration was a bit more engaging.
As far as being required reading for a history class goes, this book was surprisingly bearable. And while I understand that doesn't sound promising, I assure you I say that with the best intention. I am not a fan of non-fiction. I find it boring and tedious. However, Barbara's book recounts such relatable tales about short-term friends, overbearing managers, and bouts of exhaustion, that you find yourself listening along without complaint. An overall decent book.
Don't think I am qualified to answer this question as I have not got the print version.
When one of the people she worked with was my namesake. Yes, I know those were fake names, but still.
Not really a scene, but when Ehrenreich wrote that all the people she met in the course of writing this book took pride in what their job, no one was a slob or a slacker. That really moved me.
The book is terrific, but the recording (not the performance) defective. The playback begins duplexing after chapter 2 and continues through the next 4 hours or so. Disappointing. The reader is very good.
I wish Audible would provide a better product. I continually have to go back and try to find my place to listen. Audible apparently disables the ability to burn a book to even one disk so I can listen to it. The iPod just doesn't do well on audiobooks (probably unless you buy them from Apple). It is impossible to get a book burned to CD so I can listen to it and it never plays right on the iPod.
I have wanted to read this book for years. I was disappointed in the story, although her description of the co-workers plight is excellent. Too much the author's story, not enough of the co-workers who have to live the life, not just play at it. A good try, but I was disappointed in it. I think my main disappointment is it could been so much more than it was.
I was hoping this book would address the issues of being at the bottom of the pay scale that most people don't understand like; shall we eat or pay the manditory fees, likeauto insurance? Or how the lower you are on the pay scale, the higher the fees for everything are. No, instead we get to find out how hard it is to be a maid or waitress. I haven't finished the book yet so I may edit this but so far, I am not impressed.
It will confirm what you already know. The lower to middle class worker has it very difficult. No kidding? We couldn?t tell. Like ?Bait and Switch, this book will offer you nothing but depression. There is nothing in this book to suggest or offer some hope and comfort for the middle class worker. If you read this book or listen to the audioCD, know what you are getting into.