Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book review “Nomadland by Jessia Bruder

This Friday the Lakeside Women's Club book review is "Nomandland; surviving America in the 21st century" by Jessica Bruder. (2017) I'm about 1/3 finished, but I get the drift. Convince the readers there's something terribly wrong with the USA instead of the poor decisions, divorces, childhoods and investments of selected people interviewed for the book. So far, although the "great" recession of 2008 is noted as a cause for the white collar workers, the underlying factors in many of these cases are divorce, and/or an unhappy, abusive childhood that also included divorce, disruption, and frequent moves. I've been skimming or reading books like this for 4 decades. And since the so-called War on Poverty and the disintegration of households of married couples and families, the discussion doesn't get more positive, but the journalists/fabulists don't seem to catch on.

We first met nomad retirees in 2003 in Glacier Park. They were quite happy with their lives, moving with the tourism industry, northwest in the summer and south in the winter. According to Bruder, this movement has drastically increased as boomers hit retirement age, the internet glamorized it, and Amazon and other suppliers began to encourage a new migrant class of elder workers in RVs, vans and campers.

However, since the 1950s, our culture has glamorized the freedom of the open road, living off the grid, and personal liberty without family responsibilities in our films, theater, TV, literature or even neighborhood gossip. We shouldn't be surprised if a tiny percentage tried to grab this fading brass ring on a merry go round and found it a struggle of clunker RVs and difficult physical labor in warehouses.

So readers have a rich stew of anecdotes sprinkled with statistics about the history of retirement (it's a relatively recent concept). The reader can blame evil capitalists, bad government programs, Amazon, shrinking pensions, and overall malaise.

I'm shocked, shocked that aliens are flooding our borders. They need to read sad best sellers and then they would stay home.

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