Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: Hand To Mouth by Linda Tirado

Handtomouth   I cannot say enough about this book. I honestly think it should be mandatory reading for everyone who has ever wondered why the “poor” act the way that they do. Like everyone on the planet I have ridden that line between being a “have” and a “have not” and I spent more than a few years as a “have some, but not nearly enough.” While I have not have to navigate the ins and outs of the welfare system, food stamps and other assistance programs, I have endured low wages, having too much month at the end of the money and knowing that there are people in this world who just don’t get it. What’s more, they tend to talk out both sides of their mouths pretending to understand when really…they don’t, they never have and never will.

What is interesting is that now that I have become a writer, there are some people in my life who must think I enjoy some kind of J.K. Rowling level of fame….yeah, not so much. If they only knew how I am a few pay checks away from being in Tirado’s circumstance, it would blow their minds and I applaud her for being so forthcoming about the information and telling it with just enough “piss and vinegar” to make it an enjoyable read. Are the poor merely terrible decision makers or are the odds stacked against them to begin with? You’ll have to be the judge when you read this, but I guarantee you will have a lot more empathy for those you may have looked down upon at one point and time.

I am sure there are some people who are convinced that the scenarios described in this book are extreme circumstances, but in reality, they are more common than you think. I used to work in a place that distributed grocery gift certificates around Christmas each year. At one point, the powers that be decided to do away with them altogether until enough employees pointed out that without those gift certificates, many couldn’t afford to have a turkey for their holiday meal. During my tenure at this location, I saw the gift certificates dwindle from $14 to $13 to $11.25 (yeah, I am not even kidding) to $10 until not only would it not buy a turkey, the whole thing struck me as an insult. The CEO was driving around in an unmistakable  purple corvette for God’s sake and he couldn’t approve enough money to help out with a turkey purchase? There was a lot of grumbling last year, not to mention an editorial in the local paper (such a talented writer LOL) and lo and behold the next year the money was jacked up to $15. My question remains, why did it take such an uproar for someone to notice that people can’t get by on $10.

I felt a kinship with Tirado as I read her book and I know you will too. I truly hope that she is allowed to use her voice to raise awareness for the plight of poor people and shake the social conscious of the idle rich so that we can begin to help people get off of public assistance, enjoy a job that pays a decent wage and be able to put a title something away for a rainy day. Seriously…read this book, you won’t regret it! BUY IT, BORROW IT I don’t care how you get it, but read it and be the change you want to see in the world.

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