Synopses & Reviews
Adam Shepard graduated from college in the summer of 2006 feeling disillusioned by the apathy he saw around him and incensed after reading Barbara Ehrenreich's famous works Nickel and Dimed
and Bait and Switch
— books that gave him a feeling of hopelessness over the state of the working class in America. Eager to see if he could make something out of nothing, he set out to prove wrong Ehrenreich's theory that those who start at the bottom stay at the bottom, and to see if the American Dream can still be a reality.
Shepard's plan was simple. Carrying only a sleeping bag, the clothes on his back, and $25 in cash, and restricted from using previous contacts or relying on his college education, he set out for a randomly selected city with one objective: work his way out of homelessness and into a life that would give him the opportunity for success. His goal was to have, after one year, $2,500, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.
But from the start, things didn't go as smoothly as Shepard had planned. Working his way up from a Charleston, South Carolina, homeless shelter proved to be more difficult than he anticipated, with pressure to take low-paying, exploitive jobs from labor companies, and a job market that didn't respond with enthusiasm to homeless applicants. Shepard even began donating plasma to make fast cash. To his surprise, he found himself depending most on fellow shelter residents for inspiration and advice.
Earnest, passionate, and hard to put down, Scratch Beginnings is a story that will not only inspire readers, but will also remind them that success can come to anyone who is willing to work hard — and that America is still one of the most hopeful and inspiring countries in the world.
Shepard offers a compelling and inspiring work of investigative journalism in which the author, in a sort of anti-Nickel and Dimed experiment, sets out to see if someone who starts with nothing can still achieve the American Dream.
“DONT believe the naysayers. The American Dream—the fable that says if you work hard and follow the rules, youll make it—is alive and well.”
—New York Post
Adam W. Shepards Scratch Beginnings is the fascinating and eye-opening account of the grand social experiment the author undertook in response to Barbara Ehrenreichs Nickel and Dimed. Subtitled “Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream,” Scratch Beginnings chronicles Shepards successful efforts to raise himself up from self-imposed rock bottom in one years time—a personal odyssey that is sure to inspire anyone who reads about it, instilling new faith in the solid principles on which our democracy was built.
About the Author
Adam Shepard is a 2006 graduate of Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, where he majored in Business Management and Spanish. Serving as a Resident Advisor during his upperclassmen years, he began to take particular interest in social issues. Scratch Beginnings is Shepard's first book. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his mom.