"The home is the center of life. It is a refuge from the grind of work, the pressure of school, and the menace of the streets. We say that at home, we can "be ourselves." Everywhere else, we are someone else. At home, we remove our masks."
Matthew Desmond has written an epic and much deserving book on the destructiveness and pervasiveness of poverty, specifically in the United States, but translateable everywhere. His book garnered the Pulitzer Prize and it was well deserving. The book is written through the stories of those struggling at the bottom and trying to make a life for themselves. We find out later that Matthew spent his time living with everyone written about which adds a layer of respect to the writing. It doesn't feel exploitive at all. It opens the door to a world that many of us have never seen and it's important to look. Like many of the bias' we carry around, it can be hard to see the impact of poverty on life if we haven't ever experienced it. Matthew has shown a sliver of life in poverty in the city of Milwaukee.
I encourage everyone to put this book on their list. If you are looking for a non-fiction book to learn how others live then this is a great starting point. The impact that eviction has on families can be crippling and the stories within this book show how it can lead to people spiraling out of control. People living at the poverty line are one paycheque away potentially being kicked out of their home leading to further disruption down the line. Some of those followed in this book were spending almost 100% of their income on rent. It's hard to imagine being able to survive for long under these circumstances.
Like any book, it can open our eyes but the choice is up to us what we do about it. I encourage you to check out Matthew Desmond's eviction project at evictionlab.org for more information. When you visit the site you realize that Milwaukee ranges a meer 60th on the worst cities in America for evictions. That's incredible given the number of evictions happening here on a regular basis.
Both Bill Gates and Barack Obama have rated this book at the top of their list; it would be interesting to hear their ideas of how this problem is fixed.