Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting by in America

ISBN-10: 0822220423

ISBN-13: 9780822220428

Edition: 2005

List price: $9.00
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Description: THE STORY: Can a middle-aged, middle-class woman survive, when she suddenly has to make beds all day in a hotel and live on $7 an hour? Maybe. But one $7-an-hour job won't pay the rent: she'll have to do back-to-back shifts, as a chambermaid and a waitress. This isn't the first surprise for acclaimed author Barbara, who set out to research low-wage life firsthand, confident she was prepared for the worst. Barbara Ehrenreich's best-seller about her odyssey is vivid and witty, yet always deeply sobering. Joan Holden's stage adaptation is a focused comic epic shadowed with tragedy. Barbara is prepared for hard work but not, at 55, for double shifts and nonstop aches and pains; for having to share tiny rooms, live on fast food because she has no place to cook, beg from food pantries, gulp handfuls of Ibuprofen because she can't afford a doctor; for failing, after all that, to make ends meet; or for constantly having to swallow humiliation. The worst, she learns, is not what happens to the back or the knees: it's the damage to the heart. The bright glimpses of Barbara's co-workers that enliven the book become indelible portraits: Gail, the star waitress pushing fifty who can no longer outrun her troubles; Carlie, the hotel maid whose rage has burned down to disgust; Pete, the nursing home cook who retreats into fantasy; Holly, terrified her pregnancy will end her job as Team Leader at Magic Maids, and with it her 50-cent raise. These characters wage their life struggles with a gallantry that humbles Barbara, and the audience. The play shows us the life a third of working Americans now lead, and makes us angry that anyone should have to live it.

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 1/1/2005
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 67
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.132
Language: English

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of "Blood Rites"; "The Worst Years of Our Lives"; "Fear of Falling", which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, & eight other books. A frequent contributor to Time, Harper's, Esquire, The New Republic, Mirabella, The Nation, The New York Magazine, she lives near Key West, Florida.

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