The book that makes you happy to have gone to college.
It's been a number of years since this book was first published, and I still think it is excellent. Just as relevant now as ever (if not more so), and a very straightforward, sharply written, illuminating (and even very entertaining) first-person essay on trying to live like most Americans do: as unskilled laborers in the lower rungs of America's service industries. A decent amount of research footnotes the story to better inform readers. Most pleasing is that the author avoided writing this book as an anthem or a guilt-trip: she's never self-righteous about her assignment and she claims up front that she's not going “all the way” – in other words, she knows that temporarily acting like she has to live on minimum wage is a far cry from truly having to your whole life. Overall there's a lot to like here, and at about 200 pages, it's a quick, satisfying read.