Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
By: Jessica Bruder
Narrated by: Karen White
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
Release date: 09-26-17
Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books
From the beet fields of North Dakota to the wilderness campgrounds of California to an Amazon warehouse in Texas, people who once might have kicked back to enjoy their sunset years are hard at work. Underwater on mortgages or finding that Social Security comes up short, they’re hitting the road in astonishing numbers, forming a new community of nomads: RV and van-dwelling migrant laborers, or “workampers”.
Building on her groundbreaking Harper’s cover story, “The End of Retirement”, which brought attention to these formerly settled members of the middle class, Jessica Bruder follows one such RVer, Linda, between physically taxing seasonal jobs and reunions of her new van-dweller family, or “vanily”. Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of both the economy’s dark underbelly and the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and hope of these hardworking, quintessential Americans – many of them single women – who have traded rootedness for the dream of a better life.
I tried reading this book and just couldn’t get into it so I decided to try listening to the audio and that worked. I was hooked from the beginning and loved learning about this alternate lifestyle.
I’ve always thought it would be so neat to travel the country in an RV, camper, or travel van. I still think it would be, but now I know it’s not a great way to live for most people who must work also.
Most of these nomads were older, and I was really shocked by how some companies treat these people. It’s really hard work which is hard on the body, really long hours, and doesn’t pay much. One of the men in the book walked about 18 miles a day for his job. WOW!
I think if you had a small monthly income and would be ok with a less intense and/or part time job it would be a great way to live. But most of these people need full time.
Karen White did a great job of narrating this book.
This was a very good book. Makes me want to listen to more like it.
I think the print would work for most people, but I’m on an audiobook kick this year (which is really surprising) and only a few print books have kept my attention. I usually have to switch to audio and then I’m ok with the book.
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