Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

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9780979692604: Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

Is the American Dream still alive or has it, in fact, been drowned out by a clashing of the classes? Is the upper class destined to rule forever while the lower classes are forced to live in the same cyclical misery? Millions of Americans fight for the answers to these questions every day, and here, in Scratch Beginnings, one man makes the attempt at discovering the answers for himself. Carrying only a sleeping bag, $25, and the clothes on his back, and restricted from using his contacts or his education, Adam Shepard sets out for a randomly selected city with one goal on his mind: work his way out of the realities of homelessness and into a life that will offer him the opportunity for success. Scratch Beginnings is Shepard's response to the now-famous books Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch, where Barbara Ehrenreich has written on the hopeless pursuit of the American Dream. This book offers his observation of what it is like for so many people on the lower end of the spectrum, the blunt end of the stick. In this poignant account, Shepard goes on a search for the vitality of the American Dream, and, in turn, discovers so much more. Scratch Beginnings is unquestionably one of the most engaging works of the social science genre. No matter your reading interest, Shepard's facile writing style is sure to keep you turning the pages.

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From the Back Cover:

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, MA where he majored in Business Management and Spanish. Serving as a Resident Advisor during his upperclassmen years, he began to take particular interest in the social issues of our nation. Shortly after graduation - with almost literally $25 to his name - Shepard departed his home state for Charleston, SC, embarking on the journey that has now become Scratch Beginnings. Scratch Beginnings is Shepard's first work. He presently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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