Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6-$7 an hour? To find out Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aide, and Walmart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.
Nickel and Dimed reveals low wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity--a land of Big Boxes, fast food and a thousand desperate strategems for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.