Hand to Mouth: The Truth About Being Poor in a Wealthy World by Linda Tirado - review by Robert Chesshyre

Robert Chesshyre

Lonely at the Bottom

Hand to Mouth: The Truth About Being Poor in a Wealthy World


Virago 224pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

I really did want Hand to Mouth to be a book that changed the way people see the world. There are few issues more relevant now than the exploitation of labour and the accelerating gap between rich and poor. Linda Tirado fell from the American middle classes and hit rock bottom, earning her living often as little more than a skivvy. She has passion; she has support from equality campaigners like Barbara Ehrenreich; and her concerns are shared by an increasingly troubled liberal middle class.

Life for those at the beck and call of the fast-food industry, office-cleaning companies and much of retail is hell. It is demanding, uncertain and badly paid. Such jobs more or less preclude what many would consider ‘normal’ lives. There is too much worry: the smallest thing – an unexpected

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