Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

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Evicted was recommended to me by my husband and a friend who had both heard about it on the radio.  They know that I’m interested in social justice issues and thought it would be right up my alley.  Guess what?  They were right!


Matthew Desmond wanted to do some field research about eviction and the way that it affects the lives of poor people.  He settled on the city of Milwaukee as a good middle-of-the-ground sample city.  Matthew lived in the inner city for a good chunk of time and did field research, took notes, recorded audio, conducted interviews and surveys, shadowed people, and looked at the work of other researchers.  In this book he shares his findings and gives readers a front row look at how eviction has affected real people.

My thoughts:

This book was utterly fascinating.  I loved it!  I had no idea that eviction could affect so many areas of a person’s life–school and work attendance, job stability, increased costs (for storage, etc.), wasted time (looking for new housing and jobs), stress, depression, and the list goes on.  I feel like I’ve gained some great insight into one of the major problems in our large cities throughout the United States.

I found that I became quite attached to the people in this book, even those who were struggling with their own demons.  It was hard to see them trying so hard to overcome adverse circumstances and just get sucked down into the mire again.  There was one character, however, who really made me mad.  I thought the landlady was despicable in how she treated her tenants and I really wanted to ream her out.

The format of the book is highly readable.  Desmond does a great job of balancing real-life stories, his own observations, and facts gleaned from his research.

I highly recommend this book to adults and anyone who is interested in social justice issues.  It’s not really appropriate for the younger crowd because the quotes from real people contain quite a bit of bad language.

Possible Objections:

  • Bad language
  • A bit of violence

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…