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Nickel and Dimed

On (Not) Getting By in America

by Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed
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  • First Published:
    May 2001, 221 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2002, 240 pages

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There are currently 11 reader reviews for Nickel and Dimed
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kirit (11/16/04)

she had worked harder than any bady elas.
Katia (11/07/04)

Although Barbara is not truly a member of the "working poor" herself, I thought this book was an eye-opener. It sure brought out some questions, though some may not have been answered. Barbara does not take into account the fact that some people have children and families and/or seniors to look after. She is a single solitary person on her own, and cannot even fend for herself. She manages to get a few jobs here and there, all for a lousy wage. After all the complaining she does about the cost of rent, I think to myself, "why not get a roommate, or make a friend and share accomodations and split the cost?" But no, she decides to live by her lonesome, and sit in her little cubicle of a dwelling and pass her spare time by typing up notes on her laptop. She does bring up some solid points about low-level jobs, making readers aware of the humiliating and nerve-wracking work required to receive minimum wage. Working as a waitress or maid can't be a good job. After all, what's a person to do after carrying around so many heavy trays and scrubbing shower tiles seven hundred times a day? Physical labour is one of the disadvantages of low-level work, and so is management. If you don't get along with your boss or supervisor, things can't be good at all. Taking abuse from employers shouldn't have to be an issue, but unfortunately, it sometimes is. I would reccommend Nickel and Dimed to anyone who has ever had a minimum-wage paying job before. It may not be the best choice, but it sure does offer some controversy.
Amanda (10/25/04)

I thought this book was a waste of time. We all know about the low wage job world out there. Why do we need some journalist to go out there and pretend that she is poor. All she did was complain, and complain. She was always able to turn back to her old lifestyle when things were rough. In the real world her story would be different. I think if she told one of her low wage working friends to write the book then it would be ten times better. The book doesnt give the full truth of how people in those situations live. What about kids, and raising a family in those conditions? Well all she figures is that she can't pay the second months rent, so she must leave and go get more money and move onto another city to try it. Well, that is not how it works. Maybe she should have tried living that way for at least a year, then lets see the kind of shape she is in. The whole thing is that she had a plan B. Unlike all of the other workers she had something to fall back on. I wouldn't reccomend reading this book. If you want to find out how the conditions in low wage America are then go and ask someone who is actually trying to survive on that lifestyle. Also, why did Barbara just leave after a job. She left those poor people there, with more work to bear becuase she can't stand it anymore. She could of at least bought them some food, or donated some of her book profits to the areas she visited. That would of been the least she could have done.
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