A Review Of The Book Nickel And Dimed

Working in America and only making minimum-wage can prove to make many individuals’ lives quite difficult. A perfect example of this can be shown by Barbara Ehrenreich in her book, “Nickle and Dimed”. This is a nonfiction work that tells the story of Ehrenreich doing an experiment of leaving her middle-class life to live as a low-income hourly wage earner in the United States. The book entails Ehrenreich working in three different cities in the United States to experience poverty and the working conditions in those cities. This book proves perfect for teenagers who have not had to experience being in the position of earning only minimum wage at a low-class job and having to provide for themselves, and/or family. It will prepare teens for their future and educate them on how classism exists in America and how to properly treat service industry workers.

Education is quite important to prepare teenagers for their future. In this book, many of Barbara’s coworkers had excluded educational opportunities from their life choices and had not planned to pursue it. Often enough, these people were satisfied with their life situation with merely having the bare minimum of shelter and food. But the fact is that minimum wage is not a livable wage. Many of Barbara’s coworkers were working two jobs or living in housing provided by others or their cars. This leaves spending almost all your time working or resting, with no time left to enjoy life and no one wants that for their future. This book demonstrates the harsh reality of having a lack of education in one’s life and can motivate teenagers to make the choice now to work towards their education and seek more of it in the future for more opportunities to open up for them and prove to be more successful in their future, instead of being content with the bare minimum.

Also, classism is one large issue in America and throughout the work, the author’s class biases can be seen quite clearly. She makes comments on cheap clothing being made to fit overweight people and that the cause of this that there is a connection between food cost and nutritional quality, and one must choose a point on this spectrum that they’re comfortable with. But the fact of the matter is that many people’s choices on this spectrum are limited by a severe cap on the cost. She also comments on the fact that many working-class people allow their children to run amok in stores. But even with this, she learns and realizes that many working-class people, especially those with children, have little or no time in which they’re not working, either at their jobs or managing children. The fact that the author critiques these people may seem like a reason to dislike the book, but in fact, it educates teenagers on the harsh reality of classism in America and allows them to learn along with the author throughout the book on understanding the life of low-income workers.

Furthermore, many service industry workers get treated very poorly either it be by their employers, coworkers, or customers. This work shows the distrust many have for service workers like cleaning services. People leave obvious, “traps” (such as leaving money out and having cameras around) to catch dishonest employees and leave ridiculous instructions for cleaning their property, but even when the workers show to be honest and forthright in their duties, many homeowners still treat them with great contempt. This causes the workers to resent the prosperous and causes them to do inadequate work in the house because of the way they were treated. The service industry is often underpaid for the work they do and what they have to put up with and this book showing that will teach a lesson to teenagers and others to show service workers that you appreciate and value their work by treating them with respect and/or rewarding them when they provide a regular service for you.

In short, this book is a perfect educational tool for teenagers. It teaches about the harsh realities of income inequality in the United States and can motivate teenagers to work towards a better future and to be courteous to the less fortunate.

16 December 2021
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