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Kiplinger Bookshelf

Nickel and Dimed

  • Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Publisher: Picador, 256 pages

This is the account of a journalist who goes undercover to live among the working poor. She moves from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, chronicling poignant, eye-opening stints as a waitress, maid, nursing home aide and Walmart sales clerk.

Although the book first appeared in 2001, its themes are just as relevant today. The book has elicited a ton of debate and lots of controversy, with detractors accusing it of anti-capitalist themes. But it’s undeniable that the book sheds light on a too-often invisible cadre of service workers in our society. Raising kids in an affluent pocket of the country, I deemed it required reading in our family.

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