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Publisher's Summary

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the wilderness campgrounds of California to an Amazon warehouse in Texas, people who once might have kicked back to enjoy their sunset years are hard at work. Underwater on mortgages or finding that Social Security comes up short, they're hitting the road in astonishing numbers, forming a new community of nomads: RV and van-dwelling migrant laborers, or "workampers".
Building on her groundbreaking Harper's cover story, "The End of Retirement", which brought attention to these formerly settled members of the middle class, Jessica Bruder follows one such RVer, Linda, between physically taxing seasonal jobs and reunions of her new van-dweller family, or "vanily". Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of both the economy's dark underbelly and the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and hope of these hardworking, quintessential Americans - many of them single women - who have traded rootedness for the dream of a better life.
©2017 Jessica Bruder (P)2017 HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By James Yeary on 11-12-17

Tragic but enlightening

This is really a story about former middle-class Americans learning to survive after losing everything. It’s a tale of the have-nots and how they cope in our land of ever-widening economic disparity. Most of all, it’s about building community and using ingenuity to create a new life.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

By NMwritergal on 10-09-17

One of my favorite nonfiction books of 2017

I rarely give 5 stars to anything, though if I do it's far more likely to be nonfiction. I especially enjoy books like this--long, narrative journalism in which the writer is also a character in the book but not the focus.

I know a couple who did the "living in the RV" thing for a few years and tried camp hosting, which they did not find at all enjoyable. They weren't living close to the edge as many of the people Bruder encounters, so I was interested to read about other people and their stories.

Bruder's book was fascinating and while it didn't depress me at all while listening, ultimately it's pretty scary that it's come to this: retirees slaving away for Amazon, as camp hosts, etc. to supplement their Social Security, which is often not enough to even pay rent let alone anything else.

Some people say they want to live a mobile lifestyle, but many in the book appear to have been "forced" into it because there really aren't many viable choices.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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