Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hometown Paper

The Voice reviews my book, Strapped, and Generation Debt: Take Control of Your Money, a How-to Guide.

Overall, I thought Carla Blumenkranz' review was pretty fair, in that she brought up a lot of the obstacles I struggled with while writing the book. Once again, she acknowledges that the basic argument of the book is valid, while attacking me as the messenger:

It's not that Kamenetz's arguments are off base—higher education is in fact more difficult to finance than it was before the '90s, when student loans largely replaced federal student grants; freelance and temp jobs are indeed what most companies offer, given their newly discovered efficiency. It's just that, as a recent Yale grad, Kamenetz is uniquely unqualified to expound on these developments.

Be that as it may, now I am committed to these issues and I have to do my best to represent them, whether or not I was the perfect choice. I honestly only hope that whatever negative attention I draw by being an Ivy Leaguer, naive, overeager, etc...will only get translated into more attention onto the issues, which are real.

She was totally wrong about one thing though. When I talked about my bagel job, I was specifically dismissing the idea that those of us who work minimum wage jobs in a casual way (almost everyone middle class) know anything about the experience of those for whom that is their life.

p.83 :
As I say in the next graph after writing ' I was a minimum-wage retail slave,'(irony, by the way),
"Almost every American I know has low-wage memories like these. It's an American rite of passage to wait tables or bartend, babysit or work construction during your formative years. But generalizing from one's own experience can be deceptive. ... most minimum wage jobs provide income to those who really need it."

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