Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

by Linda Tirado


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425277973
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 157,273
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Linda Tirado is a completely average American with two kids and, until recently, two jobs. Her essay “Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts” was picked up by the Huffington Post, the Nation, and countless other publications, and was read by more than six million people. This is her first book.

Table of Contents

Foreword Barbara Ehrenreich ix

Introduction xiii

1 It Takes Money to Make Money 1

2 You Get What You Pay For 13

3 You Can't Pay a Doctor in Chickens Anymore 31

4 I'm Not Angry So Much as I'm Really Tired 51

5 I've Got Way Bigger Problems Than a Spinach Salad Can Solve 79

6 This Part Is About Sex 93

7 We Do Not Have Babies for Welfare Money 103

8 Poverty Is Fucking Expensive 129

9 Being Poor Isn't a Crime-It Just Feels Like It 145

10 An Open Letter to Rich People 167

Afterword 187

Acknowledgments 193

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

I’d like people to know that we’re not stupid. Our decisions are not made, nor our lives, lived in a vacuum. It’s not like we’re choosing to eat utter crap instead of quinoa. It’s that we’ve just worked eighteen solid hours and we still need to clean the house and we’re due back at work in eight hours and cooking takes sleep time. It’s the dopamine thing again. You know in So I Married An Axe Murderer, when the dad talks about how The Colonel puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly, smartass? That’s actually true. Humans can become addicted to the food of the poor. We aren’t dumb, we know this. We just don’t have the energy to fight it and real food is expensive and time-consuming. And we don’t have the luxury of vanity; we know it’ll make us fat, but why on earth would we care? Are we going to suddenly become less marginalized if we are a size 12 instead of 20? Is that a thing that keeps the rent paid? No? Then we don’t care. 

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Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Carissa_B More than 1 year ago
This is a no holds barred account of one woman's life and viewpoints of living in poverty. She makes sure the reader understands that she, in no way, speaks for people who are poor as a whole, but this is how she personally sees it and what she has personally gone through.  She is blunt. She is honest. Her voice is strong and there is no doubt what her point of view is. Some will most likely find it an uncomfortable read, others will feel unsettled by the language used or the no-nonsense attitude that Tirado takes in this book. It is raw, honest, and thought provoking. It is something that most of America needs to read. Needs to use to help banish stereotypes and prejudices that they feed into whether on a conscious or unconscious level. Heck, it even points out the gross working conditions that many minimum wage workers are expected to work in and shows just how condescending some people can be. It encourages people to treat others just as they'd want to be treated; to treat others as human beings, as equals, as humans. A few striking sentences from the book are: "In short, calling me a meth user because I have bad teeth is about as valid as calling me a genius because I'm a fast reader. (Tirado, 35)"  and "And next time you feel as though you're shouldering more than your fair share of society's burdens, ask yourself: How badly do I have to pee right now, and do I need permission? (Tirado, 191)" She is not saying that "rich people" don't have problems or don't hit hardships. No, she points out that because they have money that have the capability to take more things for granted. The ability to fix those problems better or quicker than "poor people" can.  It's an easy read and definitely a book that people should give a chance. (*Note I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review through Goodreads Early Readers Giveaways.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, spot on take on life as a wage slave in modern America, really hope some folks of influence read & get a clue
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Straight talk about what it's really like to be working poor in America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Linda Triado’s “Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America” was a balanced blend of both real life struggles and potent humor brought on by what it means to be living poor in the United States. Her use of seemingly inappropriate language added to the experiences and personal stories of what it is like to work multiple jobs, have children, and be treated differently because of appearance. Triado tells it like it is, whether the readers agree or not with her position in life. Triado covers a wide range of topics that affected her while trying to raise her class. She tells about bosses who sexually harass her, unsafe working conditions, judgment, and overall why the poor social class makes the choices it does. Many of her points are hard to argue with in the scope of reality. Not everyone will agree with choices Triado made in her life and chose to tell in the public spotlight. Not knowing how the wealthy truly live, some of her wording should be taken with an open mind and grain of salt. It could easily be said that Triado’s work is not a true representation of poverty, but even relating to one chapter of her story exemplifies what so many American struggle with everyday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm giving Hand to Mouth an 'extra' star, since in the book, there's some discussion on how poverty affects people's brains…almost like a disease, I’d say. There were valid points on the author’s ‘poverty thoughts’ and her take on hypocritical politicians, so I can't deny that for this book. (Story of my life … and well my own book). Hi, Linda!  The author’s poverty thoughts tend to run the gamut of a lot of blaming others, especially the rich, which tends to be annoying, immature, uncouth and UNNECESSARY. And no, taxing the rich isn’t helpful, because more of that money would go to welfare programs designed to keep people’s butts poor anyway. And yet, the author hardly mentions the issue of wage policies being a part of A VERY BIG PROBLEM, starting at the federal level.  I think the worst part of this book was the author's writing style. There were many moments where it was a pain for me to sift through — so much that I had to put the book aside (before screaming to myself at a coffee shop and embarrassing and scaring off folks) in order to to process what the author was actually trying to say. There are a lot of repetitious ramblings throughout the book, which can lose people's attention. Quite honestly, it makes me  think more about my own book of which I do feel pretty bad about that, but I’m fairly sure Linda Tirado surpasses me on that alone. Overall, the author's writing style is too banal and immature for me to be charmed by what she's really trying to say.   One reviewer did mention that there should have been better editing in order to take the edge off.  But then, I’d assume that with the number of editors at Linda Tirado’s disposal (which was after an immediate book deal waved in front of Tirado soon after her internet 'essay' had gone ‘viral'; yeah, well, it never went viral BEFORE Huff Po picked up her story and slapped it on their front page too.) Man, I knew I shouldn’t have ragged on Huff Po and other online news blogs for years and years over their failure to call out lazy, selfish, hypocritical Dems in Congress for failing to come up with any real fair standard wage policy in America—-dag-nab-it! Tirado does not mention any of that as a call for action unfortunately. Makes me think she was being coached politically by those at her disposal by the time she was given said book deal. Tirado likes to do photo opts with Senator Warren and Sanders … just a few among Dems who tout a living wage and yet supports 10.10 as if it’s a living wage. And I think that’s pretty darn gross. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of self sympathy. And self prophecy fulfillment. She must buy the cheapest that will break down and cost more in the long run because there are no extra 10s to spend. But saving 10 is useless so it's not worth it. And when she has "extra money" she doesn't have time to think of the future. She makes excuses for her own bad decision making SOME TIMES. Life is not fair and poor people are hugely disadvantaged but some of her stuff is from her own makings. Enough that I have no sympathy for her plight and would not buy this book.