Nickel and Dimed and the Working Poor

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Book Review
Nickel and Dimed and the Working Poor

In this book review we were asked to read Nickel and Dimed by Ehrenich and The Working Poor by Shipler. After reading the two books throughout the first half of the semester I would like to answer; the reactions the readings gave to me. What impact did the books have on my thinking? Also describe the experiences of the people that are in the readings closely resembling myself. I would also like to answer what I have learned in how this material impacts social policy and lastly which of the two books I enjoyed the most.

Impact (heading)
1. Discuss your reaction to reading these books.
My reaction to reading each book was very different for each reading. The Working Poor by Shipler seemed to me to be not as personal to the writer as Nickel and Dimed by Ehrenich was. I understand that The Working Poor was personal as will but the writer was writing about personal stories from other individuals, looking from outside the box and then talking about someone else’s stories with his own words. I would have to say that reading Nickel and Dimed was a lot more interesting and was a bit more personal from the writer’s views. Ms. Ehrenich was willing to get down to the behind the scenes action in her reactions from other people that think she is like everyone else in the workforce. 2. What impact did each book have on your thinking?

In Ehrencih book it was hard to understand how people can work such low paying jobs. When she was visiting Maine and working with the other employees she found herself having to breaks the rules of her arrangement and calls in a prescription from a dermatologist. The other people that she works with don’t have that kind of luxury and ability. That’s where I find it interesting that people like Holly a fellow employer have no choice but to work every day even if they fell sick, she explains to Ehrenich that she believes she is pregnant but had no choice and most continue to work, or her husband would be upset at her. It’s also very understanding how people are afraid to leave there jobs for new ones because people have to worry about bills every week, and how they just can’t afford to look for a new job because they are afraid of not being able to pay the bills for the week.

In Shipler book I think the biggest impact the book gave to me is that it opened my eyes to thinking like what I believe is how a lot of people thought that the government gives too many handouts to people and that if they cut back a little it would motivate people to work a little harder. But in most cases it’s not always like that people who depend on welfare tend to get the welfare taken from them if they decide to try to better their work environment. 3. What experiences of the people described in the books did you most identify with and why?

I would have to say the person that I most identified with is Christie a women in The Working Poor where she was pretty much punished for taking a training course that would have raised her pay ten cents an hour, it was awful to think because she wanted to take advantage of the extra pay she lost about ten dollars in food stamp benefits that she would get a month. The comparison for the extra training only equaled to and extra six dollars a month, so again Christie was being punished for trying to make a little extra money. It was horrible to learn also that the after school program that her children would attain had service charges that would accumulate every five minutes that the parent was late picking up the children. It added to her struggle knowing that she could no longer be able to take the children to the after school program because she could not pay the late fee.

I’m not too sure way I could relate to the struggle Christie went through when Shilpher was describe her in the reading. It just reminded me of when I first decide to attain college when I got out of the military. I was never able to apply...
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