Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

Linda Tirado. Putnam, $25.95 (195p) ISBN 978-0-399-17198-7
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.)
Reviewed on: 11/10/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-425-27797-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-330-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-349-00550-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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