For the most part, this book takes a very balanced approach to the struggle of the working poor on the border between failure and survival. It shows the good and bad of programs and assumptions from both sides of the political spectrum.
As the author states, "Nobody who works hard should be poor in America." It's true. Most jobs are low-paying with nowhere to go. The rate of job raises has not kept pace with the rate of inflation. Many Americans are saddled with bills, student loans, and choices (i.e. should I buy groceries or pay my heating bill?) that they shouldn't be making. Meanwhile, CEOs who stay on the job less than a year are getting payouts in the millions. This book will open your eyes to what's going on.
"People who don't call when they can't come to work probably don't think they're important enough to matter."
I'm enjoying this book so much--it's a real eye-opener. The comment above, by a woman named Ann Brash, really got me thinking. I am also amazed by the amount of s e x u a l abuse reported by poor women.
I especially liked Shipler's discussion of the discovery that some adults who never had good parenting themselves actually have no idea how to play with their children. When they're in the room with the kid, there's no interaction (or no positive interaction), even when the parent knows s/he is being videotaped. They have not played with children since they themselves were children. This confusion explains a LOT of behavior I have noticed among adults, rich as well as poor.
Audrey J. reviewed The Working Poor : Invisible in America on
Helpful Score: 2
David Shipler explores the causes of the invisible people in America, the working poor who barely (and often don't) make enough to get by. They are your fast food workers, mow your lawn, take care of your dry cleaning or work as housekeeping at the hotel you visit.
Five stars for this searing exploration of the causes and effects of poverty. David Shipler leaves no stone unturned in examining and explaining how various factors such as health, education, transportation, and others conspire to keep the working poor exactly where they are. Each chapter covers one factor, and includes anecdotes from real families and how they are getting by (or not). There are a few success stories in this book, but unfortunately not enough. This book should be required reading for everyone, but particularly social workers, voters, and politicians.
s it a myth that anyone who is willing to work hard can achieve the American Dream? Is the playing field level and does everyone start out with the same opportunities or are the ones who make good an anomaly?
his is a very thought-provoking book and one that might change your perceptions about what it means to be poor in America. I recommend it!