Customer Reviews for

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful book. I'd give it six stars if I could

I loved Ehrenreich's original Harper¿s piece that turned into Nickled and Dimed, but the book is even better. In the face of all the glib talk about how easy it is get by on minimal wage jobs whose pay has stagnated for 20 years, Ehrenreich tries to actually do that--to...
I loved Ehrenreich's original Harper¿s piece that turned into Nickled and Dimed, but the book is even better. In the face of all the glib talk about how easy it is get by on minimal wage jobs whose pay has stagnated for 20 years, Ehrenreich tries to actually do that--to live on the $4.80 or $5.50 an hour jobs that are the sole livelihoods of millions of Americans. She creates a wonderful portrait of a world that to most professional class Americans is absolutely invisible. Ehrenreich tells wonderful stories about all the ways that low-wage jobs grind people down, and about how the people caught in those jobs respond with human dignity and solidarity. in the middle of all the forces that grind people down. She's talking about real and urgent issues, but the book is also terrifically funny, both in documenting the blythe callousness that affluant Americans express toward those who serve them, and in her handling of her own role. The humor helps make this a terrific read, and it makes her core points all the more powerful. I also thought constantly while I was reading this book about the Republican overturning of the ergonomic standards. The jobs she describes routinely destroy people's bodies, because of their pace and because of the conditions people work under. Yet we've now ditched the very standards that would have begun to prevent this. With union contracts, people have some protection against the most destructive situations, without them, like in the jobs she describes, they¿re totally thrown to the wolves. In my dreams, every political and corporate leader would read Nickled and Dimed and heed its lessons, but since that's probably not going to happen, the rest of us better read it and start demanding we actually become a nation of 'liberty and justice for all.' Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time

posted by Anonymous on May 16, 2001

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Most Helpful Critical Review

30 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

offensive

This book was horrible. I can't believe that I gave this person money! The author doesn't bother to really understand what she is writing about. She is consistently surprised that the poor folks around her aren't impressed with her PhD.... and what's sick is that s...
This book was horrible. I can't believe that I gave this person money! The author doesn't bother to really understand what she is writing about. She is consistently surprised that the poor folks around her aren't impressed with her PhD.... and what's sick is that she doesn't get that a PhD shouldn't impress the working poor. Why does she feel that she is so much better than everyone else... why doesn't she bother to find out how the people around her are actually making it work? How in Gods green can she have problems getting by for ONE month when she has a paid for rental car, $1000 going into the experiment and an income, however meager? Why does she feel that eating off you lap is a major plight of the working poor that she has to write about it? Has she never been to a picnic? The idea was fabulous... it's too bad she ruined it. Lastly, no real suggestions to solve the problem? Raise minimum wage? Doesn't she realize that the cost for product will rise too... and still a worker at Wal-Mart won't be able to afford to shop there? All I got from this book was that a spoiled child couldn't figure out how to live on less. Bummer for her. Fortunately most people on the planet are a little more crafty and intelligent. Finally, we as Americans only need to look to other countries to understand what poor really is.

posted by Anonymous on July 7, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2006

    review on nickled and dimed in america

    Typical left-wing BS on how the mean rich people try to keep the poor from getting out of poverty. Well it isn't true. Anyone can be successful in this country if they want it badly enough.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2005

    Pure Garbage!

    This book was far from realistic. Really! In all of her encounters she meets only two people who work these jobs and live in suitable dwellings? All of the bosses were cold and uncaring and berated employees on a regular basis? By deciding to stay at each place for only a month or two, what type of housing was she expecting? Most affordable housing wants a year lease - that's why its affordable -because turnover is expensive. I was looking forward to an interesting read that really examined the plight of the working poor and unfortunately this was far from it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    Writer a tourist in low income world, an insult to low income folk.

    I was looking forward to reading this book, but I soon found that the author thought of her coworkers simply as victims. Whenever she felt a pinch herself, she just hopped in her working car to go home to her boyfriend. Some of the jobs she talks about sound pretty good for someone who has no skills or experience, but some are pretty awful. A good premise, but the author had zero credibity as an outsider.

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