I have heard from countless people that despite working harder than ever, they simply cannot afford to buy a home. Worse, some people out in California can barely afford their rent. After a lot of research I came across a brilliant new book written by Alissa Quart. She immediately agreed to come on the program and our conversation that followed was incredibly informative.
Written in the spirit of Barbara Ehrenreich and Jennifer Senior, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America is an eye-opening page-turner. Powerfully argued, deeply reported, and ultimately hopeful, it casts a bright, clarifying light on families struggling to thrive in an economy that holds too few options. It will make readers think differently about their lives and those of their neighbors.
One of TIME’s Best New Books to Read This Summer
“Brilliant—a keen, elegantly written, and scorching account of the American family today. Through vivid stories, sharp analysis and wit, Quart anatomizes the middle class’s fall while also offering solutions and hope.”
— Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
Families today are squeezed on every side—from high childcare costs and harsh employment policies to workplaces without paid family leave or even dependable and regular working hours. Many realize that attaining the standard of living their parents managed has become impossible.
Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, examines the lives of many middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. Through gripping firsthand storytelling, Quart shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects—from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses—have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite.
Interlacing her own experience with close-up reporting on families that are just getting by, Quart reveals parenthood itself to be financially overwhelming, except for the wealthiest. She offers real solutions to these problems, including outlining necessary policy shifts, as well as detailing the DIY tactics some families are already putting into motion, and argues for the cultural reevaluation of parenthood and caregiving.
Alissa Quart is the author of four non-fiction books. She also writes the Outclassed column for The Guardian. Alissa’s latest non-fiction book, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, will be published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June of 2018. The book has appeared on the top ten and best forthcoming books lists’ of Publishers Weekly, The Week, Library Journal and Nylon. Alissa is the Executive Editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a non-profit devoted to commissioning, editing and placing reportage about inequality. She co-founded its current incarnation with Barbara Ehrenreich. You can hear Alissa talking about her work and her ideas here and here. She is a 2018 Columbia Journalism School Alumna of the year. She has also been a Nieman fellow, an Emmy-nominated video writer and producer, and a professor. She lives with her husband, her young daughter, and their hamster.