Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream - Adam W. Shepard

I read this book as an assignment for a diversity and tolerance class I am taking. It was not my first choice in the line of allowable readings, but my second pick. It is a true story of a man, Adam Shepard, who decides to prove to the world that with a little hard work you can achieve the American dream. Adam sets off on a bus to Charlotte, NC and begins his journey. Right away he finds room at a homeless shelter and begins working his way up through the chains of poverty. He makes up a false story to tell people that ask about his background and up until the last chapter of the book keeps his false persona. We get to see Adam struggle with his decision to achieve his goal, but more importantly we get a front row view of what it is like for a homeless person and some of the struggles and discrimination that the homeless face.

 

 Having said that, I thought this book was a little judgmental and ridiculous. The point Adam was trying to get across was that if he, a spoiled recent college graduate, could work his way out of poverty and homelessness that anyone could. Never mind that he could just call his mom at any minute and she’d bail him out, or he wasn’t faced with the emotional destruction of losing your entire life. Adam even says that he hates people that beg for money, which to his credit he doesn’t do once in this book, but he gives no consideration that all people have different circumstances and seemingly forgets that the majority of the homeless population in this country is struggling with mental health issues.

 

Overall, the writing of this book was good. The story was good. The characters were amazing. The high handed I’m better than the homeless people attitude was off putting and irritating. So much that it took me 4 months to read a book that I could have finished in a day.