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Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Sarah Smarsh

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Society’s contempt for the poor becomes the poor person’s contempt for herself.”

“But the American Dream has a price tag on it. The cost changes depending on where you’re born and to whom, with what color skin and with how much money in your parents’ bank account. The poorer you are, the higher the price. You can pay an entire life in labor, it turns out, and have nothing to show for it. Less than nothing, even: debt, injury, abject need.”

“Poverty makes motherhood harder, and motherhood makes poverty harder. Single mothers and their children are, by far, the poorest type of family in the United States.”

“Few people knew how much I was struggling both emotionally and financially, because I didn’t talk to anyone about it or even understand how bad off I was.”

“Women saying “my nerves are shot” was the closest anyone came to examining the situation. What they didn’t discuss, though, they felt. That’s what substances were for.”

“To be made invisible as a class is an invalidation.”

“Theirs was not a world where natural gifts and interests decide your profession.”

“How can you talk about the poor child without addressing the country that let her be so? It’s a relatively new way of thinking for me. I was raised to put all responsibility on the individual, on the bootstraps with which she ought pull herself up. But it’s the way of things that environment changes outcomes. Or, to put it in my first language: The crop depends on the weather, dudnit? A good seed’ll do ’er job ’n’ sprout, but come hail ’n’ yer plumb outta luck regardless.”

“He had the gifts I would have wanted most for you: humor and generosity.”

“having a kind dad let me expect kindness in a man.”

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