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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the eye-opening and controversial essay on poverty that was read by millions comes the real-life Nickel and Dimed, as Linda Tirado explains what it's like to be working poor in America, and why poor people make the decisions they do.
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."
©2014 Linda Tirado (P)2014 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jacqueline on 12-30-14

Buy the written copy, NOT the audio by the author

Look, I'm sympathetic to the author's cause, but if she is going to read it as if she's yelling at me the entire time, and with that much attitude and swearing just to be edgy... poor choice.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By CHET YARBROUGH on 05-16-15


“Hand to Mouth” is Linda Tirado’s perception and experience of being poor in America. Conservative media rants, and liberal paeans to Linda Tirado’s memoir infer guilt more than understanding. Some conservative’ pundits believe any American who works hard can get ahead. Many liberal’ pundits believe most Americans born poor will remain poor. Liberal’ pundits praise Tirado’s story because it reinforces their belief in “born poor, remain poor” while conservative’ pundits attack Tirado’s credibility because her story denies equal opportunity. If Tirado’s facts are only partly untrue, it assuages conservative guilt about belief in equal opportunity. Even if Tirado’s facts are only partly true, promotion of her story assuages liberal’s guilt for being personally successful.

What is missing from a fair understanding of Tirado’s memoir is its fundamental truth; i.e. being a minimum wage employee in America is grindingly difficult.

Tirado breaks the cycle with some skill as a writer but a lot of luck. Her story is picked up by the media. Her story is told every day by other minimum wage workers seen on main street; e.g. the people serving hamburgers, cleaning houses, waiting tables. Tirado’s story just became the chosen one. Tirado will have a whole new set of problems to face in her life but they will come from her own personality; not the exigencies of American society that chooses to ignore the plight of minimum wage workers.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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