Cover image for Hand to mouth : living in bootstrap America
Title:
Hand to mouth : living in bootstrap America
Author:
Tirado, Linda.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2014.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 195 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
"I've been waiting for this book for a long time. Well, not this book, because I never imagined that the book I was waiting for would be so devastatingly smart and funny, so consistently entertaining and unflinchingly on target. In fact, I would like to have written it myself - if, that is, I had lived Linda Tirado's life and extracted all the hard lessons she has learned. I am the author of Nickel and Dimed, which tells the story of my own brief attempt, as a semi-undercover journalist, to survive on low-wage retail and service jobs. Tirado is the real thing." -from the foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed We in America have certain ideas of what it means to be poor. Linda Tirado, in her signature brutally honest yet personable voice, takes all of these preconceived notions and smashes them to bits. She articulates not only what it is to be working poor in America (yes, you can be poor and live in a house and have a job, even two), but what poverty is truly like-on all levels. In her thought-provoking voice, Tirado discusses how she went from lower-middle class, to sometimes middle class, to poor and everything in between, and in doing so reveals why "poor people don't always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should." --

"An examination of what it means to be poor in America today"--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780399171987
Format :
Book

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HC110.P6 T57 2014 Adult Non-Fiction New Materials
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On Order

Summary

Summary

One of the Best 5 Books of 2014 -- Esquire


"I've been waiting for this book for a long time. Well, not this book, because I never imagined that the book I was waiting for would be so devastatingly smart and funny, so consistently entertaining and unflinchingly on target. In fact, I would like to have written it myself -- if, that is, I had lived Linda Tirado's life and extracted all the hard lessons she has learned. I am the author of Nickel and Dimed, which tells the story of my own brief attempt, as a semi-undercover journalist, to survive on low-wage retail and service jobs. Tirado is the real thing."
--from the foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed

We in America have certain ideas of what it means to be poor. Linda Tirado, in her signature brutally honest yet personable voice, takes all of these preconceived notions and smashes them to bits. She articulates not only what it is to be working poor in America (yes, you can be poor and live in a house and have a job, even two), but what poverty is truly like--on all levels. 

Frankly and boldly, Tirado discusses openly how she went from lower-middle class, to sometimes middle class, to poor and everything in between, and in doing so reveals why "poor people don't always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should." 


Author Notes

Linda Tirado is a completely average American with two kids. She has worked as a general manager at a Burger King and until just recently worked as a night cook at Ihop and as a voting rights activist for a disability nonprofit. She also writes essays on poverty and class issues. She lives in Enoch, Utah, with her husband and children. This is her first book.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Tirado tells it like it is to be poor as are millions of Americans and it's devastating. Sometimes she uses rough language, but her restraint is remarkable, given the life she describes. As an often part-time worker with no benefits, she rarely has the medical and dental benefits many people take for granted, so her teeth are bad, her health shaky, and she is often forced to walk to the one, two, or three jobs she holds down. Here, as for the many poor in the U.S., her efforts are not to make ends meet but to decide which bill not to pay and when to find time to sleep. Tirado isn't seeking pity, though her story, the story of so many like her, is downright piteous. Companies cut hours to avoid paying benefits, those paid dimes more than the minimum wage aren't counted as minimum-wage workers, and the social workers tasked with assisting those who need help are also often underpaid and overworked. That Tirado hasn't yet collapsed is testament to her courage and ability to endure the nearly unbearable consequences of hard luck, hard times, and bad laws. Enthralling and horrifying, this should be required reading for policymakers.--Kinney, Eloise Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this gripping memoir, Tirado, author of the online essay "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts," stands before us, her bad habits (swearing, smoking) and bad decisions fully on display, to say that even with the best-laid plans, poverty can happen to anyone. When red tape and a summer storm left her and her husband without a home and with nearly nothing to their names, the couple slid into the demoralizing treadmill that is poverty in America. With critical insight and palpable fury, Tirado tears down common assumptions and superior attitudes about the working poor, from entitlement issues to finance management, and rounds it out with some hard truths about the lack of opportunities for mobility, from the inability to survive an unpaid internship to the full-body impact of commuting an hour or more every day on foot. Articulate, insightful, and saturated with life experience, Tirado's story is not unlike millions of others in America, but her strong voice has the opportunity to bring that story to new ears. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In 2013, Tirado was declared the voice of millions after her blog post, "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or Poverty Thoughts" went viral. The author has since taken that post and expanded it, offering a frank account on her experiences with work, sex, parenthood, and health care while earning minimum wage (or less) and living in poverty. She makes no apology for her anger or bluntness; in fact, her final chapter addressing "rich people" may cause pause, not for its truth, but for its assumptions. Those who have worked for minimum wage as an adult or have held multiple jobs to make ends meet may question Tirado's sometimes unconscionable methods of earning a living. There is no question that her struggles are real, yet one may wonder if her diatribes are helpful. This title should be read with the foreknowledge that the author was not born into poverty, but came to it after dropping out of college and setting out on her own. This is mentioned because there is another faction living without choice, the impoverished who may actually be hindered by a book that inadvertently reinforces negative stereotypes. VERDICT Readers of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed (2001) and online followers of Tirado may find the author's debut book of interest. [See Prepub Alert, 4/27/14.]-Angela Forret, Clive P.L., IA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Barbara Ehrenreich
Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
1 It Takes Money to Make Moneyp. 1
2 You Get What You Pay Forp. 13
3 You Can't Pay a Doctor in Chickens Anymorep. 31
4 I'm Not Angry So Much as I'm Really Tiredp. 51
5 I've Got Way Bigger Problems Than a Spinach Salad Can Solvep. 79
6 This Part Is About Sexp. 93
7 We Do Not Have Babies for Welfare Moneyp. 103
8 Poverty Is Fucking Expensivep. 129
9 Being Poor Isn't a Crime-It Just Feels Like Itp. 145
10 An Open Letter to Rich Peoplep. 167
Afterwordp. 187
Acknowledgmentsp. 193