I liked the biblical stuff about David and Goliath – the interpretation that David’s victory was about the tactics and ruthlessness of the underdog, rather than a heavenly blessing, was very interesting. The chapter about the Northern Ireland troubles was very depressing though. I loved the bit about the Resistance in WWII France – the community that basically said, ‘We’ve got our Jews, you come get ’em if you want ’em, see what you get!’ was – well, almost funny, although you feel bad laughing at something so serious.
I often finish a Gladwell book feeling as if I’ve been entertained, but not sure what I’m supposed to have really learned. This is one of those.
I really love this book, although I’m not sure why considering just how depressing it is. I think perhaps just because of that. Ehrenreich truly tells it like it is, and there’s none of the sugarcoating of economic abuse and exploitation that you get with even supposedly impartial media like the BBC and UK liberal press these days. Also I’m into it just because I love memoir beyond any reasonable point and every detail of Ehrehreich’s wilfully grim and dispiriting experiences is fascinating to me.
There is a temptation, as a reader, to keep second-guessing her choices, and the choices of her more truly blue/pink collar colleagues. To think and hope, wishfully, deludedly, that given the same circumstances one would do better, would rise above somehow and bootstrap one’s way up. It’s perhaps the same ‘blame the victim’ mentality associated with rape, bullying or whistleblowers – it feels so much safer to convince yourself that the system works, the target slipped up and was at fault somehow, and it could never happen to you. But it ain’t so, bud.
Great fun read, and Amoruso seems like she would be the funnest person to hang out with. Her sheer drive and wit and energy are inspiring – it’s just a shame that Nastygal itself seems to have crashed and burned, judging by the news stories. Still, I’m sure that Amoruso will rise from the ashes. (I just hope she’s managed to hang on to some of the money, after all her hard work.)