Nickel and Dimed
Nickel and Dimed
On (Not) Getting By in America
Holt Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780805063899, 240pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.
"Nickel and Dimed" reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival. Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor.
". . . you will read this explosive little book cover to cover and pass it on to all your friends and relatives."
--Diana Henriques, The New York Times [Business Section]
"Jarring, full of riveting grit . . . This book is already unforgettable."
--Susannah Meadows, Newsweek
"Angry, amusing . . . An in-your-face expose."
--Anne Colamosca, Business Week
"With grace and wit, Ehrenreich discovers . . . the irony of being nickel and dimed during unprecedented prosperity."
--Eileen Boris, The Boston Globe
"Ehrenreich is a superb and relaxed stylist [with] a tremendous sense of rueful humor."
--Stephen Metcalf, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Barbara Ehrenreich . . . is our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism."
--Dorothy Gallagher, The New York Times Book