Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

by Adam W Shepard
4.2 26

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Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Roy_Young More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book that demonstrates what can be accomplished with hard work, determination and clear goals. I am planning on buying copies for my nieces and nephews who are currently in college or about to start. There is a lot of negativity these days about the American Dream being dead. I think this book demonstrates that while the road isn't easy, it is still very possible to start with virtually nothing and make something of yourself. While the author clearly had the advantage of an education,although he didn't claim to have a degree in his job search, he still had the benefit of the decision making skills an education brings with it that others in his predicament may not have. What Adam Shepard was able to accomplish in a mere 365 days starting with nothing is an inspiration for anyone who is starting off well ahead of where Adam was when he started his project.
smsnow1 More than 1 year ago
Okay, first off, this book is suchhhhhh an easy read. It will give you a different outlook toward the homeless and poverty-stricken with a glimpse into their everyday lives. There's nothing TOO crazy or many wild stories in the book, but it is 100% REAL and so unique. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone, either as just an eye-opener or a means to confirm people's dreams. So I know he is not an author, just a guy with a story to tell. But I hate how he tends to 'ruin the surprise' alot. There is not much suspense on what will happen to him; he usually gives it away beforehand. But the stories are still really unique nonetheless. I hate how he never tells you people's race or descriptions of their appearances. His attempt at political correctness (I'm assuming) makes it so much harder to really visualize the characters. I also wish we could have known more, or ANYTHING really, about Mickey. I mean, he lived in his house for 2 months, and he never once even mentioned him. Now to go a little deeper into the social science aspect of it, I have to say that I don't completely agree with his 'steps' for appeasing the cycle of poverty that he discusses in the epilogue. I do, however, admire his passion and concern for this epidemic. In my opinon, you can fund programs and preach and teach all you want, but what has to happen is people have to quit being so apathetic and have a completely different attitude and work ethic. Once people do get a more positive and productive attitude, then maybe these resources will be able to help them. But they have to help themselves first!! Okay, I don't want to get all political in a book review, but contrary to what he thinks, that is NOT the government's place. Like I said, I would recommend this book to ANYONE I know, so go out and get it! This is probably the only book I have ever read that I think every person in America at any age could appreciate.
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Robert Berquist More than 1 year ago
Reviewing this book is difficult. Taking on this project was quite brave. What Shepard accomplishes is amazing. But we're not reviewing his journey, we're reviewing his book. Right at the beginning, Shepard makes sure we all know he's not a writer. Sorry man, you're writing a book. I will judge you as a writer and an author. The entire book reads like a blog instead of a novel. Often times, Shepard will go off on a random tangent in the middle of a chapter, and he never really comes back to where it started. It seems like he has too many ideas and lacks the writing skill to put them all on paper. As far as his project, I don't think it necessarily disproves Bait and Switch. The author shows that with hard work, you can claw your way out of homelessness. With hard work, Shepard work his way UP TO poverty, not out of poverty. At the end of the journey, he was working a dead end job slinging boxes and had some money in savings. I fail to see how he planned to actually work out of poverty and into middle class. He didn't lay out any plans or strategies. He simply says "I have a crappy job with no opportunity for improvement and some cash in the bank". I give respect to Shepard for what he accomplished. However, he writes as if he's blogging his project instead of writing a book. I think he makes some sweeping conclusions that are incorrect. But he does show that with hard work, the homeless don't really have to be homeless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AmblerJP More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable and an interesting insight into a world I hope never to be part of. Shepard does a solid job of investigating what it takes to start from scratch in the US. Not overly political (like "Nickle and Dimed" is), just a look at one person's experience with arriving into a strange town with very limited resources, and the process to get started with a new life.
Sromero15 More than 1 year ago
This book is about more than a man and his goal to see if it is possible to live the American Dream, it is about the willpower we all have inside of us to be, do, or have anything we want in life. Everyone has a goal or aspiration; whether it would be losing weight, quitting smoking or just making an effort to save a penny here and there. We also, all have a choice of whether or not we are willing to put in the effort into accomplishing our ambitions. What Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard has proven to me is that EVERYONE is capable of pursuing and successfully accomplishing their goals no matter how big nor small they may be. Shepard, through his year-long project of trying to work his way out of homelessness, could possibly work as an inspiration to those who have 'thrown the towel in' and are certain that there is no way of succeeding. The men that Shepard meets (Marcos, Phil Coleman, Easy E, etc.) are truly personified examples of dedication proven by their aim toward escaping the grasp of hardship and onto the solid ground of social and economic stability. I enjoyed the fact that he shared each of these men's stories throughout Scratch Beginnings because it shows that the homeless are more than lazy and mindless, but most are goal-oriented and rational people who have been caught up in unfortunate circumstances. I definitely recommend that everyone reads this book no matter ones age, as long as he or she is willing to accept and learn that they are in charge of their own life (This book does contain profanity and suggestive material so only read it if you consider yourself mature). Overall, I liked the book because it definitely hit home. Making an effort to keep up with my education seems like nothing compared to the men and women who everyday struggle to live while on the streets, the people slaved to the needles and blunts that destroy all hopes for success, and the single-mothers strive to make the life of their children better than they had it. Scratch Beginnings has a lesson to teach everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mnlakes More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the sample but the file had problems. It repeated several passages. This was confusing and annoying. I would like to read more but won't buy because of this.
MaxineRae More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. It has changed my perspective on life so much, and I am only in high school. The best quote in the book that helped me come to this realization is: "no matter what life throws at you, you can take a hold of it and make something better out of it." Definitely read this book!!
PhotoBySki More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because Dave Ramsey recommended it. This is the story about how the American Dream is alive and well. I don't know if I could have done what Adam did. That took a lot of guts. Strange city with only $25 and the clothes on his back. This book was an interesting read to say the least. Once you start.you can't put the book down. I found myself cheering for Adam's success. It gave me hope that ANYONE can succeed in the United States of America! You are in control of your own destiny. You have a choice to make. Are you going to succeed or are you going to just follow the crowd? Make your choice. Get this book and be inspired!
SadieDF More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of the best books ever. I wish I would have read this one after nickel and dimed in america. Adam Shepard had the guts to do it right when he set out to see what it would be like to start with nothing. I didnt want to put the book down, it had me laughing in parts of it and totally amazed in others. Really awesome job. More please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was truly an awesome book. It was so down to earth and parts of it were very funny. It was a life-changing book.
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Tim_Sluga More than 1 year ago
This book, from my very first glance intrigued me. The concept that the author is expanding and trying to live upon is pretty original and I applaud someone for going this far in their "studies" to find an answer.
Unfortunately, that's about the most interesting part of this book. The idea.
The execution, though I don't doubt was difficult for our narrator, comes out in the book in a very nonchalaunt manner. There is nothing within the narrative that really can keep you engrossed and ultimately the book leaves you kind of unfeeling when it's all said and done.
Also, the final chapter, about looking back, comes off as having been written far before he took this journey and seems more of a sanctimonious political rant based on the authors own beliefs, instead of really being based on his experiences. While reading it, I felt no connection between it and the rest of the book at all. Instead I felt I were reading a dissertation from an idealistic college student who had not yet set foot into the harshness of the real world, not someone who had just for a year lived it.
I'd recommend it to anyone who finds the idea expressed, like myself, appealing. In that, you can take an appreciation of the effort and sacrifice involved away. But, much like the books by barbara ehrenreich that the author claims to want to disprove, it ends up as an ultimately poor written political farce.
Maybe it'd had been better as a documentary?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Scratch Beginnings was a refreshing break from the nature of most non fiction that deal with social issues that are loaded with facts and numbers that you forget by the end of the book. This book didn't deal with the causes of homelessness or the different problems that can be acquired if you are homeless 'drug addiction'. It's merely a story of someone trying to make it with the cards they're dealt in a completely foreign environment. I know there are many criticisms for this book, but Shepard does well to answer them in the first stages of the book.
Philpott More than 1 year ago
Scratch Beginnings: Me $25, And The Search for the AMERICAN DREAM tells the story on one young man who is out to make a difference in the world. Adam Shepard embarks on a once of a lifetime trip in order to seek out the ¿American Dream¿. He selects a random town, takes twenty-five dollars, a pair of clothes, and prepares himself to undergo in an adventure to move away from lower class, and make a true life for himself. In this novel self-identity comes up an extraordinary amount of times. During Adam¿s time at the shelter he realizes how important it is to be more comfortable with yourself than any other person on Earth. He begins to learn that not everything about him is based on what others think of him. Embedded in the pages is the message that hard work and determination can allow you to reach many more goals than thought possible, Adam Shepard proved this point.
There isn¿t many things that I could say weren¿t good about this novel. Throughout the story, weather it was one of Adam¿s stories, a friend¿s story, or someone living at the shelter, it made me seriously take a step back and realize how truly fortunate I am. Along with the novel, Summer¿s Stars, this has inspired me more than any other story I¿ve read to accomplish what I believe is necessary and to value the possessions I own everyday. Personally, this biography isn¿t about, an extraordinary person, it¿s about an ¿average Joe¿, like you and me, achieving what is right. This biography isn¿t packed with the hundreds of literary terms which analysts today find necessary, to make a novel great. This is about how one person can truly make a difference in thousands of other people¿s lives.
To any wondering, I would instantly recommend this book to you. Sometimes we don¿t have the best days that we¿ve seen; sometimes we don¿t realize what we have around us and how valuable that is. This story will open your eyes, if it doesn¿t I¿m not sure what will. To those of us believing that the members of the underclass do nothing but sleep on park benches, you are wrong. From day to day life most of these men do their best to-as Adam Shepard calls it- ¿get out¿. Men like Adam in the lower-class work their very hardest every day to get out, something not all of the more privileged can say.
Overall this was a great read for me. Never again will I look at the world the same way; never again will I take my resources for granted like in the past. On my scale, this book receives a solid five out of five.