Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

By Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh writes a beautiful memoir about her life growing up in rural Kansas. She speaks to her future child wishing her child will learn from her life experiences and writes what she would have hoped for her child not to have experienced growing up in an area of America where it’s impossible to leave your situation because of socio-economic status.

Smarsh’s grandmother had her mother at 16 and her mother had Sarah at 17. Smarsh tells the heartbreaking family’s stories of women who have been abused by boyfriends and husbands and how poverty affects their lives. Smarsh speaks to the poor working conditions as laborers in farms and factories in Kansas, as herself and family members have experienced. Heartland speaks to the pride and prejudices of poor Americans and how some can and will never leave their current situations.

If you enjoyed reading Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich or Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado you will enjoy this book. As one of Sarah Jessica Parker’s book club picks, this book has won various awards including a 2018 Kirkus Review Finalist.  

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