" The Check-Cashing joint is kinda like a homeless shelter for money. Well, a homeless shelter with a door charge. They know the only reason you're there is because you have nowhere else to go, but they take advantage of the situation by charging you fees for everything. First-time check-casing fee. Payroll-check fee. Welfare-check fee. Breathing too hard while in line? Extra-breath fee. You can't just be sucking in all the check-cashing air for free! Pay up!" -Angela Nissel from The Broke Diaries
Hello there Friends, Mothers, Lovers and Other Strangers,
Upon my goal to read 1 book a month the first one I chose was The Broke Diary by Angela Nissel. The book consists of diary entries she kept while she was a lowly underpaid college student. We follow Angela, or Ang as she ends all of her entries, through her struggles with being short on rent, being rejected by a bank, using her cat's water bowl to make a potluck dish and dating a guy who breeds, slaughters and cooks his own prizewinning chickens(she says it's true and I'm inclined to believe her).
Having been in her shoes I could totally relate to the tales listed within and likely you have too. Being broke is not simply a college thing. We've all been in situations where we've found ourselves literally just 3 cents shy of a pack of Ramen (C'mon man! You know I'm good for it).
It's quite a short book (by an avid reader's standards) so I don't want to risk giving too much away but there is an entry about attending a free poetry reading that still has me in tears with laughter. Revolution!
My only criticisms on the book, aside from it's length, is that we don't get to see much of the journey out of the "broke status". Angela went on to do great things like establishing the hip-hop culture website OkayPlayer along with ?uestlove from The Roots and becoming a writer and producer for the tv show "Scrubs". I'm sure that simply getting job after college wasn't the only thing she needed to get a handle on her financial situation. Also some of the entries are getting to be a little dated as time passes (i.e. having overdrafts due to collect calling from a payphone) but this really can't be helped.
I feel that this should be required reading for all high school seniors and college freshmen. While she allow us to laugh at her pain, Angela Nissel also shows us the often harsh realities of entering into young adulthood. Click here to purchase the book from Amazon while showing my humble blog a little love in the process.