“DON’T believe the naysayers. The American Dream—the fable that says if you work hard and follow the rules, you’ll make it—is alive and well.”
—New York Post
Adam W. Shepard’s Scratch Beginnings is the fascinating and eye-opening account of the grand social experiment the author undertook in response to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed. Subtitled “Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream,” Scratch Beginnings chronicles Shepard’s successful efforts to raise himself up from self-imposed rock bottom in one year’s 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.
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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.About the Author:
Adam Shepard is a 2006 graduate of Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, where he majored in business management and Spanish. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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