* Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado


It’s too bad that Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America is written in such an aggressive tone, which is a real turnoff for readers, because its contents are edifying and well worth reflecting about.

The author talks about her life as a poor working (married!) mother in the US, working multiple jobs and still never managing to maintain a stable housing situation or even hang on to a working car. When pundits intone that poor people just need to behave better, it would be useful for them to think about the raw deal that workers at the bottom of the heap get: low pay, sure, but also irregular hours, with immediate loss of jobs if they cannot accommodate last-minute scheduling changes. And it is hard to get one of those minimum-wage jobs, as employers routinely run credit checks, even for run-of-the-mill jobs, which are often unflattering for poor applicants.

I recommend this book for its content, as well as the spirited voice of the woman who writes it, but the grating and accusatory tone, not to mention the salty language, makes it challenging to read.

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