Critique of Nickel and Dimed
A negative review:http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/5/Nickel%20and%20D.htm
A review I strongly agree with, this article draws attention to the limits of Ehrenreich ‘investigations’. It highlights the fact that for all her good intentions, Ehrenreich failed to fully immerge herself into the social group she was attempting to study and therefore was unsuccessful in fully comprehending their world. Whether this was deliberate for political reasons (as suggested in the review) or simply a lacklustre exploration by a somewhat silver-spooned individual is unclear, however it is important to note that Ehrenreich is a socialist and therefore a tad biased. It is true that the minimum wage earned by these women is almost impossible to survive on alone, the important thing to note, is that they don’t do it alone. These women have husbands, boyfriends, social networks that are massively integral to how their society works. They help each other. The problem is that Ehrenreich failed to make use of these social guards and this was what made her experience less then realistic. It also meant that the book primarily focused on her and this is not what we want to read about. While it is interesting to see how she handles the day to day life; the use of extra money, the lack of inclusion in social groups and her general attitude, mean that in actuality we, as the reader, are not getting the truth behind how these women live. In my opinion and that of the reviews, she would have done better to talk to more about the members of this social group and divulge how THEY survived, what THEY thought and how THEY lived. While I admit we did have some life stories from the people she met, there was too much of her (an intruder in a foreign environment), and not enough of the REAL people.