Nickel and Dimed

On (not) Getting by in America

Ehrenreich, Barbara

Book - 2002
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Nickel and Dimed
Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, the author decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job, any job could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on six to seven dollars an hour? To find out, she left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered as a woefully inexperienced homemaker returning to the workforce. So began a grueling, hair raising, and darkly funny odyssey through the underside of working America. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Henry Holt, 2002, c2001.
Edition: 1st Owl Books ed.
ISBN: 9780805063899
Characteristics: 230 p. ;,21 cm.


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Aug 27, 2014
  • Blue_Fox_58 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Had to read for required summer reading. Considering it was published in the past two decades, the language is relatively easy to understand. Enlightening book.

Jun 04, 2014
  • ckaldahl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An oftentimes humorous journey through three towns and the minimum wage jobs the author works there in an attempt to balance income and expenses on minimum wage. Assigned summer reading for students of AP Language and Composition at Millard South High School.

Jun 24, 2012
  • apollard18 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is well-written account of an undercover journalist's journey into the world of the working poor. At times, the tone is biting and sarcastic. More often, it is sincere and sympathetic as Ehrenreich recounts her experiences working an array of low-paying jobs.

Dec 23, 2009

proposed title for July 2010


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Jun 04, 2014
  • ckaldahl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Other: Barely mentions drug use. Refers to it as a "chemical indiscretion" Seeks out a detox system prior to taking a drug screening for a job.

Feb 10, 2011
  • imaginethat rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: References to drug use. (Not sexual content, but I thought readers should be warned).


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Jun 04, 2014
  • ckaldahl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I suggest that what we need is a union, but from the look on his face I might as well have said gumballs or Prozac.

Jun 04, 2014
  • ckaldahl rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Once I stand and watch helplessly while some rug rat pulls everything he can reach off the racks, and the thought that abortion is wasted on the unborn must show on my face, because his mother finally tells him to stop.


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Feb 10, 2011
  • imaginethat rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

imaginethat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Apr 26, 2011
  • samccann rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is a fantastic book that everyone should read. It shows the struggles of trying to get by in the U. S. and trying to live on low wages

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