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March 4, 2005

A teeny bit of anger today

A bit off topic today but when your free time's precious, you don't want to spend it ranting to your loved ones. So I rant here. Books today.

I've never spoken to anyone who didn't like Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (2001).

I'm the only one in the world who hates it.

The book documents a year of her life when she tries to survive working low wage jobs. It sounded like an interesting experiment. Unfortunately, throughout the book, she can't resist letting people know she actually has a Ph.D. and is just dropping in on the little people as an experiment and then has the nerve to be surprised when her co-workers don't seem to care. She does this several times throughout the book. To me, it simply represents a weakened committment to her cause. So Barbara, her Ph.D. and her big fat pompous ego are shocked they don't fawn all over her virtuous attempt to know and feel the pain of the every day grunt.

She also expresses surprise that the work she engages in is hard. If you don't think that guy hustling his ass off behind the McD's counter wouldn't castrate himself to get out of that situation, you don't possess the necessary skills to be writing such an account. But hey, Ehrenreich's a successful writer and I'm . . . well, not. I'll never know why the book is so popular. I pitched my copy after I read it so no one else would read it. Or, maybe I lit my barbecue with the shredded pages, don't remember.

In today's Dispatch (paid content) there's a brief synopsis of David Shipler's The Working Poor: Invisible America (2004). It seems like it will be better; similar focus, to more understand the plight of low wage earners in this country.

We need to appreciate the problems of this population more and, hopefully, Shipler is a more empathetic author. I'm looking forward to it.

There, I feel better now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I actually read a bad review of this book a long while back so I did not read it-similar comments to yours I think

dave said...

In Amazon, ALL the publisher reviews were stellar and a couple reader reviews were mediocre. One actually disliked it as much as I did.