Hard Work, Low Pay, and A Mother's Will to Survive

eBook - 2019
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A journalist describes the years she worked in low-paying domestic work under wealthy employers, contrasting the privileges of the upper-middle class to the realities of the overworked laborers supporting them.
Publisher: New York : Hachette Books, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316421003
Branch Call Number: 921 Land
Description: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Ehrenreich, Barbara
OverDrive, Inc

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Mar 18, 2019

This is going to be on many college required reading lists, or should be. And should be required reading by anyone involved in public policy. And anyone who has ever complained that their tax dollars go to lazy people getting free goodies. And anyone who has ever thought, or said, negative comments when the person in front of you in line at the grocery store uses food stamps. I've had to rely on food stamps and yet I still have those thoughts sometimes. You can't help judging but you can catch yourself and you can learn some empathy by reading this book. It's the least you can do. Really.

And it reads like the author has written dozens of books before: so descriptive and so deep that you are transported to a life you do not want to live, a life so bone-tired, a life so without opportunity, a life so pull-yourself-up-from-your-wornout/second-hand/ripping-with-holes bootstraps that you'll want to donate to the next Go Fund Me campaign you see for anyone with a hardship trying to get through the day. In fact, I took breaks to clean my kitchen and floors, and even my bathroom once, while reading. (I like cleaning but reading this made it feel like therapy.)

The author has been on podcasts and media interviews, stating her story so beautifully that I'm not worthy to recreate it. The book is so well-structured and so well-written and so perfect for the time in which we live: a time where everybody seems to be judging each other and finding reasons to look down on those of us who don't have as much. Or maybe that's just what it feels like to be poor, not broke, in such a divided country right now.

Putting yourself into the life of a single mom who has to scrub nasty toilets to earn food stamps and live in moldy studio apartments doesn't sound like an exciting journey, but it is! It's so much better than all those travel books that you read to pretend to live in Italy among grapevines, drinking wine and basking in the beautiful pink sunset. Those things just seem superficial after reading this.

Mar 15, 2019

Vividly conveys the author's fear, stress, and isolation during a 5-year period of poverty, as well as the joy and love she shares with her daughter during that time. The author's state of constant worry and near-exhaustion from hard work at low wages is relentless, and her experience makes a compelling case for the immense emotional and mental toll of being poor in America. However, as most of the book details the economic facts and forces that make it so hard for her to escape poverty, the last chapter, which somewhat glosses over the material changes in her life and instead takes an almost mystical "ask the universe for what you want, and it will provide" tone, was an odd and unsatisfying conclusion.

ArapahoeKati Mar 12, 2019

I was sucked in by Land's descriptions of poverty and abusive relationships, her struggle to go to college, and feeling frustrated by how she only made $6/hr when the cleaning company charged clients $25/hr. It all feels unfair and bleak, but the love that she has for her daughter gives her—and you—the courage to keep going.

Mar 10, 2019

Oklahoma Best Seller 3/10/19

Feb 26, 2019

A fascinating memoir. Loved it. Couldn't put it down.

Feb 25, 2019

Land has written an engaging, readable memoir about poverty in America. While the story focuses on her struggles as a single mother who escaped an abusive relationship, she alludes to many generations of poverty in her family. While her mother climbed into the middle class for a number of years, she also fell out of it when the economy collapsed just as her children reached adulthood. Land's story points out a number of truths for Americans -- being poor is associated with criminality, being a single mother or going through a divorce is a fast road to poverty, and being on public assistance makes you a target for irate taxpayers simply by buying groceries. This is one young woman's story which will engender many different reactions from those who read it.

Jan 30, 2019

My major problem with these types of books is what do they add to the discussion???
Any number of people could write about the hardships they have faced and suffered in life, but what valuable information is conveyed? That there are cretins among us? That the rich can be sociopathic and intolerant in nature? That work is a burden?
Unless the author adds to the discussion, yet another book on life's hardships adds absolutely nothing. Does the author explain the various groups and categories of the homeless?
Please - - either add something of value to the discussion or kindly stop destroying trees . . .


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cals_readers Feb 12, 2019

Poverty was like a stagnant pond of mud that pulled at our feet and refused to let go.

cals_readers Feb 12, 2019

If I started crying every time something hard or horrible happened, well, I'd just be crying all the time.

cals_readers Feb 10, 2019

Reassurance of self-love was all I had.


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