This is the story of Barbara's adventures in working low paid jobs in three different places in the US. She presented herself as an ex-homemaker who was looking for a job and she found herself struggling with the balance of work, rent and food. She found herself struggling with the balance and with keeping her dignity. The balance is a funny thing. I knew that it was a fine balancing act between income and outgoings and struggled myself with trying to break out of rental into ownership, and myself and my husband occasionally have issues with budgeting but I'm quite glad that I don't live this close to the edge. Ehrenreich is trying to write a story about this and this does colour her experience but it's interesting to see how some of her preconceptions are changed by the experience.