Saturday, May 28, 2016

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - Book Review

BookEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Publisher/Publish Date: Crown / March 1, 2016
"From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America" (From
This is a brilliant book I highly recommend everyone to read. Matthew Desmond tells the story of single moms spending 70% of their income on housing that has no hot water. Stories of families getting evicted over and over again as they try to keep a steady job and make enough to cover rent as well as feed their kids. He includes stories of the landlords who have the power to let the rent slide or evict the tenants, and the challenges they face trying to make a living off of property in poor neighborhoods. You can't read these stories and not come away unchanged.

I'm so impressed that Desmond committed to living in these neighborhoods where evictions are common and immerse in the lives of the people in his book. He put himself in a situation to truly learn, from the inside, what the lives of the landlords and tenants look like.

While I enjoy learning more about subjects like this, this book was hard to read. As I got further into the book, it was really depressing the situation many people in the US are in. I actually stopped reading it for about a week, with just the last chapter to read. But, in the end, it was worth it. I value the information I learned from the book, and Desmond does a great job of telling the stories in an engaging, thought provoking way.

I truly hope this book, and other writing on this topic, will lead to change in the US on how to deal with the housing costs and shortage, and I appreciated the suggestions that Desmond had at the end of the book. This is a tragic issue that needs to be dealt with so people can have a roof over their head, and have a boost in trying to overcome poverty.

Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books with no expectation that I would provide a positive review. The thoughts, opinions, and reactions are entirely my own.