If you want to call a book eye opening, this is it. I can no longer "see" waitresses, maids, or the people at WalMart the way I did before the book. I want my kids to listen when they get to be around 15. Maybe they will understand just how lucky we are and the costs of leaving others behind. The insights are gripping. The listen is engrossing. And I am a better person for having heard this book.
This book did try to explore an interesting concept. But the end results was annoying and contrived. The author over-dramatizes the smallest issue, drawing it out into several minutes, making me think "lady, just get over yourself". She obviously had a point she wanted to prove, a cause she wanted to lead, but just tried to hard. In the end, the book had the opposite effect - complete lack of credibility.
Nickel and Dimed / B002V1BOFQ
I cannot praise highly enough "Nickel and Dimed"; it's one of those few books that I honestly think pretty much *everyone* should read. It's depressing and heartbreaking to see, first-hand through the on-the-ground journalism of Barbara Ehrenreich just how hard it is to get by in America as a member of the working poor, even with the numerous starting advantages that she began with.
The audiobook maintains the same high quality of this book by providing perfect narration. Maybe I'm unusual in this respect, but the ultimate goal for me as a reader is to hear what the author intended -- the humorous inflections, the wry disappointments, the sarcastic quips -- as though the author were reading hir own work to the reader. Cristine McMurdo-Wallis nails this novel perfectly, to the point where it's almost difficult to remember that this isn't the author we're listening to. For me, that's pretty much the Holy Grail of narration.
If you enjoyed reading "Nickel and Dimed", I can pretty much guarantee you'll like this unabridged audiobook version of the same. And if you haven't read the book before, I think you'll still get a lot out of this audiobook, and I recommend it highly.
~ Ana Mardoll
This is easily the best-narrated audiobook I've ever purchased. You may or may not like Ehrenreich's philosophy and perspective, but I found it to be a thoroughly fascinating story, and Cristine McMurdo-Wallis' narration is fabulous. I was surprised it was not the author herself expressing the emotion of each vignette - it's that good.
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.
Retired high school English teacher. I liked and worked with the at-risk student. Interested in about everything, but I love a good story.
I bought this book in 2008 and can just now write the review on it. This book tells a large part of the truth about being poor in America. Many people think that having a job means you aren't poor, but that is not so. Working on minimum wage can ensure poverty even deeper than being on welfare because food stamps, welfare payments, and health care is not available.
Ms. Ehrenreich writes definitively on these circumstances, so much so that listening to the story is painful.
"Read" this to make yourself think.
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.
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.