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

February 5, 2009

Barbara Ehrenreich's novel, Nickel and Dimed, exposes the lives and working conditions of minimum wage workers. Ehrenreich, a middle-class woman with a Ph.D. in biology, goes under cover as a minimum wage worker. She leaves her middle-class life and takes on the persona of a divorced woman needing a low income, entry level job. Ehrenreich's novel is a wake up call for anyone unaware of what it's really like to be a low income worker. She experiences a different living style, where one's daily decision isn't 'what's for dinner,' but rather, 'can I afford dinner tonight'. Post publication of this novel, anyone who reads this will soon realize that any assumption they had about low income workers are soon answered. This easy-read novel is for all ages striving in the work force and it will change your outlook on life. . If you are looking for a novel to change your perspective of the Wal-Mart worker, the maid or the cook of a diner, Nickel and Dimed will do just that.

Ehrenreich first begins her new 'working life' in her current residence, Key West, Florida. She makes basic rules for herself and for transportation, she uses a 'Rent-A-Wreck'. Just by reading the first few pages of this novel, you realize that Ehrenreich is going to fully assume the low income life. She realizes this experiment is going to be harder than she thought. As Ehrenreich looks for low income jobs, she reflects on her living conditions. As the reader, you get a better sense of what it's like to not always have a job, or money or a place to live. Ehrenreich's writing style reflects her emotions that she is feeling throughout the novel which helps the reader fully understand her pain as she suffers through work.

Every person that reads this novel will have a new perspective of the work force. Her experiment has changed the world of the working class. Ehrenreich's social experiment changed the views of all low income Americans. As a low income worker, I could relate with what Ehrenreich experienced; the bad management, low income, hard working conditions, long hours and difficulty maintaining a job. Nickel and Dimed, the social commentary of the decade and the memoir of Barbara Ehrenreich's life changed not only her perspective, but also every Americans view on the working class

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This article has 2 comments.

KRSchulze said...
on Feb. 12 2009 at 12:54 pm
Wow! What a well-written review! I'm going to read the book, thanks to your review! :-)

on Feb. 10 2009 at 4:44 am
good job christine!


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