Pulitze Prize-winning reporter David Zucchino spent a year sharing the lives of Odessa Williams and Cheri Honkala - two 'welfare mothers' in Philadelphia - to gain an initmate mook at their day-to-day extistence. Odessa, supporting an extended family, exhibits almost superhuman strength and resolve. Cheri, a single mother, is a tireless advocate for the homeless. Zucchino beautifully portrays them as figures of profound courage and quiet perseverance, systematically shattering all misconceptions and sterotypes about these women and so many others like them.
Nonjudgmental, well-written chronicle of a year in the lives of two Philadelphia women struggling to stay afloat in welfare's Paper Sea. Zucchino presents the grim reality of women trying to rear children with too little education, too little money, and too little support from the system, but he pointedly avoids any reference to the elephant in the living room -- the endless cycle of unplanned or poorly planned pregnancy and volatile domestic relationships that continue to exacerbate an already massive problem.