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Eye Opening If Youve Been Living in a Hole NICKEL AND DIMED ON NOT GETTING BY IN AMERICA By Barbara Ehrenreich Henry Holt And Company 230 pp 13 paperback The back cover and the last chapters 25-page evaluation are the most gripping parts of this memoir which without a doubt originated as an attention-grabbing idea but turned out to be an obvious repetitive and unrealistic account of American blue-collar life Barbara Ehrenreich sets off to do the old-fashioned journalism leaving behind the comforts of her air-conditioned office She ventures out to temporarily reconstruct her life to fit the mold that an unskilled welfare reform victim is destined to live in Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota for a month at a time she works in menial positions earning money and trying not to cheat and fall back on her savings account mimicking what she imagines is the destiny of millions of Americans affected by reduction of welfare benefits In her efforts to imitate the real world Ehrenreich places herself on a pedestal over her ambitious goal of seeing what its really like reminding the reader no less than 8 times an average of once every 30 pages that she has a PhD apparently to distinguish herself from the average people around her lest we forget She comes across as disdainful of the poorer people she encounters be it their appearance practices or beliefs while simultaneously trying to identify with them With an excessive amount of pity for herself and those who genuinely walk in the shoes she is merely trying on this makes for an unnecessary perspective of neither an actual worker nor an upper class boss concerned about the situation of hisher employees Ehrenreich has a noble pursuit to serve justice to the harsh arrangement the government decided on What is missing in her story are the authentic hardships that face the lower class daily even as she partook
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