In Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, a tale of poverty in the Rust Belt town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a trailer park dweller referred to as “Larraine” (for privacy, Desmond doesn’t use real names) blows her entire monthly allotment of food stamps on one luxurious meal. At the supermarket, Larraine splurges on lobster tail, shrimp and crab legs. She takes the haul back to the trailer where she’s chronically delinquent on rent and utilities, and stuffs herself with seafood and Pepsi. Even though she’ll go hungry for the rest of the month, she savors this one really good meal. Larraine’s daughter, her pastor and her niece can’t understand why a woman living in abject poverty would squander food stamps on a feast when she can’t afford shelter.
About the Author
Harvard sociologist and 2015 MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner Matthew Desmond became interested in poverty and housing policy after his parents lost their house to foreclosure.