From the author of the eye-opening and controversial essay on poverty that was read by millions comes the real-life Nickel and Dimed, as Linda Tirado explains what it's like to be working poor in America, and why poor people make the decisions they do.
We in America have certain ideas of what it means to be poor. Linda Tirado, in her signature brutally honest yet personable voice, takes all of these preconceived notions and smashes them to bits. She articulates not only what it is to be working poor in America (yes, you can be poor and live in a house and have a job, even two), but what poverty is truly like - on all levels. In her thought-provoking voice, Tirado discusses how she went from lower-middle class, to sometimes middle class, to poor and everything in between, and in doing so reveals why "poor people don't always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should."
©2014 Linda Tirado (P)2014 Penguin Audio
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
“Hand to Mouth” is Linda Tirado’s perception and experience of being poor in America. Conservative media rants, and liberal paeans to Linda Tirado’s memoir infer guilt more than understanding. Some conservative’ pundits believe any American who works hard can get ahead. Many liberal’ pundits believe most Americans born poor will remain poor. Liberal’ pundits praise Tirado’s story because it reinforces their belief in “born poor, remain poor” while conservative’ pundits attack Tirado’s credibility because her story denies equal opportunity. If Tirado’s facts are only partly untrue, it assuages conservative guilt about belief in equal opportunity. Even if Tirado’s facts are only partly true, promotion of her story assuages liberal’s guilt for being personally successful.
What is missing from a fair understanding of Tirado’s memoir is its fundamental truth; i.e. being a minimum wage employee in America is grindingly difficult.
Tirado breaks the cycle with some skill as a writer but a lot of luck. Her story is picked up by the media. Her story is told every day by other minimum wage workers seen on main street; e.g. the people serving hamburgers, cleaning houses, waiting tables. Tirado’s story just became the chosen one. Tirado will have a whole new set of problems to face in her life but they will come from her own personality; not the exigencies of American society that chooses to ignore the plight of minimum wage workers.
Look, I'm sympathetic to the author's cause, but if she is going to read it as if she's yelling at me the entire time, and with that much attitude and swearing just to be edgy... poor choice.
Hand To Mouth is at the top.
No other book has ever come this close to the real, visceral truth about what it's like to be poor in the United States.
Required reading for the middle-class and above.
This book hit home, big-time. Linda writes, speaks, and feels right from her heart, and I know this because I LIVE this, every single second of every single day. There were moments in this book that caused tears to well up in my eyes because you almost never read or hear your exact experiences, frustrations, and reality written or spoken as they were in this book. Linda Tirado, thank you, and bravo!
I really enjoyed listening and hearing the author's perspective. While I knew much of this, there were many little things that individuals in poverty have to deal with that I hadn't considered. Was great to broaden my perspective and helps to make me more effective in my work. Highly recommend this read.
Wonderful story telling and although she is from different states, her story reflects the stories of the incredible people I work with. I would count this as a should read and a great way to challenge political rhetoric around poverty.
Linda Tirado does an amazing. . .outstanding job of narrating her own book. There is little doubt this is an intelligent woman behind her story. I felt like, rather than reading her book to me, I was there. . .and she was yelling at me (at times).
Yes. . .from somebody who grew up poor. . .and later found (semi) wealth, I agree with most of what she says. And...HOW she says it.
I winced when she described how banks "nickel and dime" their customers and, how, a bank-charge can be 10% of one's monthly earnings. I remember the first time I went into a bank that proclaimed, "free-checking!" I didn't believe it. I went in and asked, "What's the catch?" There wasn't a catch--and I was blown away. I remember this like yesterday as I was so tired of being nickel'ed and dime'ed to death!
She angry. And it shows. She plays the victim and explains it. I never understood, though, why somebody in this life position doesn't take out a loan, get a college degree, and work for a higher-income, better life--while paying off educational loan debt. The opportunities are there. . .but one must INVEST in themselves, too.
This is a TIRADE. . .an anger fest. She's absolutely right in almost everything she says. But she makes herself the victim. Rationalize having children any way you want...but if you're poor and are struggling to take care of yourself, please don't bring children into that world, too. Make yourself better. Education. Trade School. You can do it...it is hard. It is just as hard as living in poverty. If anything, Linda Tirado's TIRADE justified my choices in my own life. It's a fun, entertaining, and heartfelt audio book. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
This book was an optional read for extra credit in a sociology class I'm currently enrolled in at CSUSB. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed every chapter...it made me laugh with jokes that will only be understood by those who have "been there"... it made me shake my head with disgust at the reality and truths that are revealed about minimum wage student living...it made me sad to recognize my future, but that gave me motivation enough to desperately try at finding a better job, and landing one. To the author, thank you for helping me recognize where I was in life and where I would be if I didn't make a change...it forced me to step up into something better...I'll admit, I got lucky... but best of luck to everyone else who " just gets this" book...you know you need it, lol.
I'm glad a book that tells this perspective has been written. I could relate to many things in this book and learned some new things too. That said, I do not recommend the audio version. The tone is so condescending and at times downright rude. It's hard to listen to someone who wants you to understand their perspective when their understanding of the perspective of others is so limited. Perhaps try the hard copy instead of the audio book; it might read differently.
Tirado has lived through some rough times and artfully shares them with color and enthusiasm. It's great to have the author read for that reason. She really "gets" it and has the literary chops to convey her story clearly. Well done!
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