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Download Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream Audiobook, by Adam Shepard Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (847 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adam Shepard Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2011 ISBN: 9781452675039
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What can you get with twenty-five dollars and a dream?

Adam Shepard graduated from college feeling disillusioned by the apathy around him and was then incensed after reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s famous work Nickel and Dimed—a book that gave him a feeling of hopelessness about the working class in America. He set out to disprove Ehrenreich’s theory—the notion that those who start at the bottom stay at the bottom—by making something out of nothing to achieve the American Dream.

Shepard’s plan was simple. With a sleeping bag, the clothes on his back, and $25 in cash, and restricted from using his contacts or college education, he headed out for Charleston, South Carolina, a randomly selected city, with one objective: to work his way out of homelessness and into a life that would give him the opportunity for success. His goal was to have, after one year, $2,500, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.

Scratch Beginnings is the earnest and passionate account of Shepard’s struggle to overcome the pressures placed on the homeless. His story will not only inspire listeners but will also remind them that success can come to anyone who is willing to work hard—and that America is still one of the most hopeful countries in the world.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty Renard | 2/20/2014

    " I liked this answer to "nickel and dimed", which I found very flawed. This young man also another effort should be made to prove the American Dream is alive and well, and made a much more sincere effort in my opinion. Good reminder to set goals and work toward reaching them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dean Anderson | 2/20/2014

    " Nice response to Nickel and Dimed. Not strongly written, but a good story still. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy Fairfull | 2/7/2014

    " This was an interesting book, especially since it took place in Charleston (where we live). I thought it was a little unrealistic though if you weren't a young, healthy, single man with no children. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sharon | 1/12/2014

    " Gave up when I realized that the author already had his mind made up before going in and wasn't going grasp the difference between himself and those around him, and certainly not those in other cities lacking in services. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 1/1/2014

    " Interesting journey. Those who say anyone could do it should try it. I wouldn't have made it in a homeless shelter for long, knowing that I could leave at any time with just a phone call. Kudos for trying the experiment. That being said, I think he is still young, with a simplified view of things, and how to fix them. All in all it was an interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bridget | 12/30/2013

    " This was such an interesting book, mostly because it gave an insider's perspective on the homeless situation in our country. The author set out to be homeless for a set amount of time with the goal of discovering if it is really possible to be homeless and work your way out of it and into the American Dream. His findings were very eye-opening. You will find that many of the stereotypes of the homeless are unfortunately true, according to the author's experiences, but there are people he meets that will surprise you in a positive way. I highly recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Fowler | 12/13/2013

    " A book everyone should read. It's about the hard work and attitude that lead to the American Dream; and how that dream is nowhere near dead. Engagingly narrative with honest observations. I definitely recommend it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura Leigh | 9/6/2013

    " This isn't a very well written book, but it is interesting. He takes some jabs at _Nickle and Dimed_, but he does have a compelling story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick Holliday | 8/16/2013

    " Good story, kinda preachy at times. Set in Charleston which made it worth reading. Motivational in a weird sorta way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 6/23/2013

    " Doesn't seem like it would be a page-turner, but it definitely is. Shepard has a very engaging way to tell his story that makes it hard to put down. Very good at description and character study. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/25/2013

    " It was intersting to read about the writers experiences. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christi | 1/10/2013

    " Great book. All kids should read it. Self-discipline, perseverence, focus, positive attitude...Adam models many excellent character traits that enable us to change our circumstances, rather than breaking down and waiting for someone else to pay our way. Where there's a will, there's a way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dani | 7/16/2012

    " There is nothing revolutionary about this book. After reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed (a book that incensed Shepard), this book sounds trite and PollyAnna-ish. I think I got more out of Ehrenreich's book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teresa | 4/23/2012

    " Certainly not a great piece of literature but his experience is remarkable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jamie | 3/20/2012

    " I was initially intrigued by the story, but the writing was poor at best. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 3/10/2012

    " The author seemed to have the same beef with Nickel and Dimed that I had, and he had a much more genuine approach than Barbara Ehrenreich. A good quick read but nothing new to be learned here. "

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About the Author

Adam Shepard is a 2006 graduate of Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, where he majored in business management and Spanish. He has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and other outlets. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

About the Narrator

Peter Berkrot, a forty-year veteran of stage and screen, was the director of narration for the Emmy-nominated The Truth about Cancer. He has voiced over three hundred audiobook titles, winning six Earphones Awards, a 2012 Audie Award nomination, and a 2016 Audie Award. He has appeared in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Loosies and played Angie D’Annunzio in Caddyshack.