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Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in Americaby Michelle Kennedy
Synopses & Reviews
What happens when one day, you wake up to realize that your average middle-class life has disappeared? When you've dropped out of college, have three young children, and find yourself married to a man who just isn't capable of being a father, a provider, or a caring partner? At age twenty four, Michelle Kennedy found herself and her three small children living out of the back seat of a Subaru station wagon (that symbol of middle class affluence) in a small sea-side town in Maine. On the way down, she left a lot of her illusions behind. WITHOUT A NET is the story of discovering that suddenly, you are at the very bottom sleeping in your car next to your Tupperware tubs of belongings; racing back to the car on waitressing-breaks to see if your kids are safe. Showering at campgrounds; eating cereal bars for breakfast and ramen noodles cooked over a public grill at dinnertime. It's the story of being afraid to tell your family that you've slid down into the grips of poverty; of telling lies to bosses and co-workers about where you're living--and why. And how you can work long shifts as a waitress every night and love your kids like crazy, but still not have enough money to put down a security deposit on an apartment. This is the story of a woman who really did scrape the bottom of the American economy and find her way back up. With humor and honesty, Michelle Kennedy describes how a few bad choices and missed chances can push a smart, educated woman and loving mother across the poverty line--and how she lived by her wits and found the strength she needed to pick up the pieces.
Michelle Kennedy had a typical middle class American childhood in Vermont. She attended college, interned in the U.S. Senate, married her high school sweetheart and settled in the suburbs of D.C. But the comfortable life she was building quickly fell apart. At age twenty-four Michelle was suddenly single, homeless, and living out of a car with her three small children. She waitressed night shifts while her kids slept out in the diner's parking lot. She saved her tips in the glove compartment, and set aside a few quarters every week for truck stop showers for her and the kids.
With startling humor and honesty, Kennedy describes the frustration of never having enough money for a security deposit on an apartment—but having too much to qualify for public assistance. Without A Net is a story of hope. Michelle Kennedy survives on her wits, a little luck, and a lot of courage. And in the end, she triumphs.
At age 24, the author found herself and her three small children living out of the back seat of a car. With humor and honesty, Kennedy describes how a few bad choices and missed chances can push a smart, educated woman across the poverty line--and how she lived by her wits and found the strength she needed to pick up the pieces.
About the Author
Michelle Kennedy was nominated for a 2004 Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, on Salon.com, and in the Christian Science Monitor.
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