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In Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, journalist Sarah Smarsh details her Midwestern background in Kansas and addresses the harsh realities of generational struggles with poverty. In writing the book to an imaginary daughter she pushes back on societal assumptions about the working poor. Detailing the exhausting hours farming entails dispels the most hurtful insult of laziness. How can families working long days in multiple jobs, only to come home and work the land to fill the American bread baskets, still need welfare to barely scrape by?
The Homestead Act, the 80’s farming crisis, agribusinesses, drugs, teen pregnancy, abuse and low wages are just some of the obstacles to the american dream Smarsh points out. She is the first in her family to “break the cycle” and her book describes all of the painful steps it took for her to get there. Attending 8 different schools by ninth grade disrupting her life and her education every time, is just one of the many hurdles she faces.
Along the lines of “Hillbilly Elegy”, “Educated” and “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” , as well as " The View From Flyover Country", Sarah Smarsh gives us plenty of perspective and experiences to discuss poverty and the working poor in America.

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