In the top 10
Barbara (of course)
She gave Barbara a voice.
I read [and was captured by] a good portion of this book in print. But when my weekly driving time increased [thereby reducing my reading time] I downloaded this book to listen to while in the car. Cristine's narration added the voice which was missing from my own reading. It was wonderful - she brought Barbara to life and really captured the essence of her. Nickel & Dimed is a must read.
This story is great at putting a face on the plight of the working poor. The writer tried to support herself on low wage jobs in several different states. I felt sympathy for her fellow workers--the waitresses, nurse aides, and Walmart associates--as they tried to stretch too few dollars to cover basic necessities, while their employers made them feel they were lucky to have a job at all.
The performance by Christine McMurdo-Wallis was lively when telling the stories as she voiced different personalities for the characters. However, she had less to work with in the chapters that focused on economic overviews for the way things are. I enjoyed getting this wider view of the extent of the problems, but it was quite a contrast from the personal narrative chapters.
I was disappointed to find out this is not a recent story. The writer took this journey of discovery quite a while ago, before the housing bubble burst. It is shocking to learn that these conditions existed even during the times before the recession. I would love to have the same story in today's context. Housing costs are the villian of this story, as these workers often had to spend more than half their income to live in substandard conditions, and the author points out that affordable housing has become more and more scarce as the need for it has gone up.
If you need a realistic point of view to judge the proposals from economic and political experts as they try to fix America, you should listen to this book.
I would never have ready this in print version. If it hadn't been Lou Dobbs before he became a sell out I would never have looked at this book at all.
If corporations or those in power have their way this is how we'd all live and get paid.
I will listen to Nickel & Dimed again to understand more deeply the pathos of its characters, all taken from real-life, a pathos present every day wherever human persons are treated like objects existing for the benefit of the idol 'net-profit.'
The author brings us with her on a journey of self-discovery as she encounters the lives of the invisible-people with whom she and all of us share our daily-lives, those overworked and underpaid workers upon whom we depend to make our worlds function smoothly. These workers, each of whom is precious in their own right, are Walmart greeters, clerks at Menards and the person behind the voice at the McDonald's drive-thru speaker, . Barbara Ehrenreich brings their humanity to us in a way we cannot ignore either in the book or as we hurry past the smiling clerk who meets us entering the store on our next shopping trip.
The most memorable scenes for me were descriptions of the people the author encountered during her research, which she developed into the book's narrative.
I listened to the book while driving, not in one sitting.
Writing this review encouraged me to listen again to this well-written, thought-provoking book that has lingered just below the surface of my own daily-grind helping me to know my otherwise unknown:
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.
This is a book by a whining socialist about inequality in the American economy. Instead of offering any viable solutions to poverty the author just suggests that we throw money at it. She was raised with a poor work ethic, but well off economically so she was able to get through college and a good job in journalism. For the purposes of writing this book, she goes into the low wage laborforce after making a self-fulfilling prophecy that says it is not possible to live on $7 per hour. It is no surprise that she would see no way out because she was raised well off and has never had to experience (or overcome) real hard work before. She sees herself as "just like them" meaning the poor and this proves to her that the poor are poor because of society's injustice and not because of personal faults in any way. She has obviously never seen the hard work it takes to overcome poverty. It is possible to work out of poverty with especially good work ethic which is something she does not have.
This book ISN'T about the working poor. It IS about Barbara Ehrenreich's FEELINGS about the working poor. I, for one, couldn't care less about her feelings. This isn't 'reportage.' This is self-indulgent crap.
Barbara Ehrenreich takes a trip down memory lane with this admirable study of how low-income workers really live. She finds … well find out what she finds, but you will find her experiences funny, insightful, and down right realistic. This woman has a hit here, and for those who are of privilege, who have no concept of what life is like for the disadvantaged, get a grip on reality. You’ll need it.