Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Life On The Line

One Woman's Tale of Work, Sweat, and Survival, by Solange De Santis.

Quickie Recap: A journalist and all around white-collar woman decides it will be interesting to live the life of a labourer to see what it's "really like" so she goes to work at a GM auto plant and describes not only the physical work involved, but the people she befriends, the management she doesn't, and the union that baffles everyone.

Quickie Review: I'm a little wary of anyone who wants to see what life is "really like" for others because they so often do an insulting half-assed exploration that leaves me frustrated as a reader and embarrassed as a human being, but I grudgingly admit that De Santis does some justice here. She manages to tell her story without being condescending to her fellow workers. She writes more compellingly about snobbery without realizing it than most authors who set out with that purpose. Of course there's a smidge of self-righteousness within the pages, but maybe that's inevitable when you put a soft person into hard circumstances. There's a certain grit and grime to this that's unmistakable, but to her credit, it is overshadowed by the dignity with which she writes, perhaps not closing the gab between white and blue collar worlds, but at least shedding some light on it.

Quickie Recommendation: Certainly one of the better of its kind.

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