Bismarck's online book discussion community

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Book Choice

I think it's time to start a new book. How many of you have read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich? Once you've read the book start posting and commenting your reactions to the book.

In Nickel and Dimed the author, Ehrenreich, asks herself how anyone working full-time on minimum wage can possibly survive. She questions whether welfare reform has any merit. She decides that the only way to find out is to quit her job, pose as a "woefully inexperienced housemaker" returning to the job force and find out what kinds of jobs she can get. Throughout this experience Ehrenreich finds herself working as a waitress, hotel maid, cleaning woman, nursing home aide and a sales clerk at Walmart. Read this book and get a rare view of what life "on the bottom" is like from Ehrenreich's personal experience.

Questions to ponder as you read:

1. Have you ever been homeless, unemployed, without health insurance, or held down two jobs? What is the lowest-paying job you ever held and what kind of help -- if any -- did you need to improve your situation?

2. Ehrenreich found that she could not survive on $7.00 per hour -- not if she wanted to live indoors. Consider how her experiment would have played out in Bismarck: limiting yourself to $7.00 per hour earnings, create a hypothetical monthly budget for your part of the country.

3. Nickel and Dimed takes place in 1998-2000, a time of unprecedented prosperity in America. Do you think Ehrenreich's experience would be different in today's economy? How so?

Happy Reading! Please help make the book blog a success: Share your comments and ideas!


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