First published in 2001, Nickel and Dimed describes the author’s attempt to subsist on a variety of minimum wage jobs over the course of two years in three different cities. She worked as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide and Wal-Mart associate. The author vividly describes each work experience and what she endured in humorous and thoughtful prose. Most of the time her earnings barely covered her expenses unless she worked two jobs seven days a week. Ehrenreich says that the experience changed her forever. She writes that the hardest thing to accept is the “invisibility of the poor.” We see them every day but don’t recognize them as poor because after all, they work. This is a quick, entertaining and thought provoking read. My eyes were opened many times, especially at her description of working for a franchise cleaning company. Comparisons to today’s wage earners are eerily similar and inevitable.
As it so happens, this title is our selection for the next “Let’s Get Real” nonfiction book discussion on June 24th at 6:30. Pick up your copy at any one of our branches and please join us for some lively conversation at the Main library.