Don't even think about it! The author takes the extremely important issue of whether or not people can live on minimum wage and makes it into an 8 hour rant on how her back aches. She sets down the ground rules in the beginning of the book: She will NOT go homeless, she WILL use her ATM card incase of emergency, she WILL always have a car to drive around in, she WILL take the highest paying low income job available. There are more rules, but they are pretty weak considering that the working poor do not have these rules or options.
I would have preferred she took the opportunity to really understand what is going on inside the heads of people who have to scrape out a living on a minimum wage salary. She could find out what has enabled people to make it and what has condemed those who have continued to live in absolute poverty. Instead, she gives an upper middle class view point on how rough it is to be poor. No one wants to pay for an audio book that only goes on and on about how it sucks to be poor! I can't believe this book has sold so many copies. The author must really be well connected.
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.
the storyline of this book basically boils down to the fact that if you have a problem with authority and would rather not ask engaging questions to managers and do things to get ahead at your job then you will always be stuck making minimum wage. there was a lot of complaining about her/others circumstances rather than taking action and looking to better themselves. Barbara Walters was not stuck with these low paying jobs and for the most part never looked to get a higher paying job during her experiment. I saw so many fallacies with her experiment that I really had a hard time getting through this book which was required reading for my class. she never truly comes out and says it in this book but it's basically all about how the minimum wage needs to be raised to better peoples living conditions. the problem with this theory is that this would cause many small businesses to go out of business and actually worstens the gap between the haves and have not.
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.