I was expecting a lot more from Ehrenreich’s book than what was given because while I didn’t love Nickel and Dimed, there was at least a premise to that book. Published in 2008 and subtitled “Reports from a Divided Nation”, I expect that the book would be a damming expose on the widening gap between rich and poor in America and on the disappearance of the middle class.
Instead, it’s a collection of blog posts, articles, and musings that barely fit together; the book has no solid thesis and there is barely a linkage between each essay that moves the narrative forward. But without any formal citations, this book reads as a collection of editorials consisting of Ehrenreich’s opinions and her rants against other columnists, against CEOs, against the state of America today.
In addition, the short “chapters” are selected from between 2001 and 2007 and reactions to current events at the time. I recognized them all, but her anger seems out of date because these “chapters” are so heavily dependent on things people may not recognize or remember in a couple of years.
I believe her intent was to make readers aware of how absurd the pay CEOs receive is and how absurd the cost of health care is, and these are huge problems facing the American public today. But it morphs into a rant against gender inequality and religion that eventually ends with a quiz of sorts on which country to move to because America is hopeless. And now I’m not sure why I kept reading until the end.
- Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2002. Originally published 2001. Print. 221 pgs. ISBN: 9780805063899. Source: Library.
- Ehrenheich, Barbara. This Land Is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, 2008. Print. 235 pgs. ISBN: 9780805088403. Source: Library.