The Shame Game: Overturning the Toxic Poverty Narrative (Paperback)

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Description


What does it mean to be poor? For decades the dominant narrative in the United States and United Kingdom has been that it is caused by personal flaws, or bad life decisions. People living in poverty have been depicted as lazy, dependent, and irresponsible so regularly and for so long that it has powerfully affected how people see, think about, and treat their fellow citizens who are financially vulnerable. Drawing on a two-year storytelling project and her own experience of childhood poverty, this book by journalist and author Mary O’Hara argues for a radical overhaul of this fundamentally pernicious portrayal. We can’t begin to address poverty until we actually see it clearly. To start the process of doing that, O’Hara turns not to pundits or social scientists, but to the real experts on poverty: the people who live it.

About the Author


Mary O’Hara is a journalist and the author of Austerity Bites. She writes for a number of outlets, including the Guardian and Mosaic Science.

Praise For…


The Shame Game illuminates the disparagement that the poor confront in a prosperous America. . . [and] points to our collective need for better social supports, including cheaper medical care, improved access to education and even periodic government cash giveaways through programs like universal basic income. . . . As O’Hara puts it: “There is a long history of the poorest being shunned and shamed and ‘kept in their place,’ but there is also a history of these practices being challenged with genuine successes. . . . Ultimately, finding solutions to poverty, including ending the blaming and shaming of the poorest among us, rests with all of us.””


— The Washington Post

“A necessary book in divisive times.”
— Jameela Jamil, actor and activist

“It is rare that the central argument of a book is so eerily transformed by events. If it had not been for the coronavirus, Mary O’Hara’s The Shame Game would have been respectfully received and tidily shelved alongside several other stringent assessments of the ugly politics of austerity. . . . In our new world, this reads less a study of them and us, than potentially a book about us all.”
— Prospect Magazine

 “A welcome addition to all those who reject the ‘toxic poverty narrative’. . . . Detailed, hard-hitting and thoughtful. . . . We need books such as The Shame Game to remind ourselves that being poor is not a self-choice but something that is inflicted by those who hold the levers of power and wealth.”
— VIEW Digital

“O'Hara sees the potential of talent and magic in every kid and every adult. This book explores the absolute travesty of blaming each other.”
— Conrad Murray, BAC Beatbox Academy

“In a time of extreme social and economic division, O'Hara lifts the lid on who truly benefits from keeping us divided and how we can flip the script of poverty to make a fairer society for all. A powerful and important book.”
— Mahsuda Snaith, author of How to Find Home

“Rich people should be required to read this book and poor people should be allowed to. I have rarely seen a more broad and beautiful picture of people who have done more with less than this book. O’Hara has woven a rich tapestry of joy and terror and talent and lost opportunities and the picture she draws is the most comprehensive description of poverty I’ve seen yet.”
— Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth

"A welcome addition to all those who reject the ‘toxic poverty narrative’. . . . Detailed, hard-hitting and thoughtful. . . . We need books such as The Shame Game to remind ourselves that being poor is not a self-choice but something that is inflicted by those who hold the levers of power and wealth.”
— View Digital


Product Details
ISBN: 9781447349266
ISBN-10: 1447349261
Publisher: Policy Press
Publication Date: February 27th, 2020
Pages: 232

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