Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America Book Review

The American dream is a simple one. Upon reaching adulthood, the expectation is that one will have a job that pays well and provides standard benefits. Which in turn allows one to buy/rent a decent home and support a family. But these days, the American dream is just that, a dream.

In her new book,  Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, Alissa Quart describes how the middle class is becoming a thing of the past and how the standard of success that were normal in generations past are no longer possible for many Americans. Interviewing a variety of people across the country, the message is clear: the rich are getting richer while the rest of us are getting by as best we can.

While the book is a little slow in the beginning, it picked up towards the middle of the book and does not let go until the last page. While speaking of issues such as the high cost of both health care and childcare, student loans that are still being paid off years after finishing school, hourly workers who work multiple jobs to make ends meet, Ms. Quart is not afraid to speak of the problems that most American have. But even with those problems, there is still a nugget of hope that things will get better.

I recommend it.


Eighth Grade Movie Review

Adolescence or early adolescence is often addressed in movies with a glossy veneer or with a narrative that almost seems too good to be true.

The new movie, Eighth Grade, strips away that veneer to reveal the almost terrifying anxiety that comes with that period in our lives.

Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) lives the live of a typical eighth grade student. On one hand, she has her own you tube channel where she talks with ease about topics such as self-esteem, self-confidence, etc. But on the other hand, when she enters school, she is known as introverted and awkward. Taking place during the last week of eighth grade, the film follows Kayla as she navigates the turmoil and confusion that is early adolescence.

Written and directed by Bo Burnham, this film is nothing short of remarkable. From the outside looking in, the first question is how can a grown man in his 20’s create a film about a thirteen year old that resonates with audiences of all ages? The answer is that there is a humanity to the main character that speak to all of us. While her specific experiences are that of a girl about to start high school, her anxieties and world view, especially in 2018 are universal.

I absolutely recommend it. 

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