Author Topic: Favourite novels that have poverty?  (Read 10388 times)

MandalayVA

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #50 on: February 27, 2017, 10:05:19 AM »

Another one that's not fiction but reads like fiction, I can never recommend Mrs. Mike enough. It's about a young woman who, in the early 1900s, was recommended to go north to Canada (from Boston) for her health. She met and married a Mountie when she was 15 and they ended up moving up to the Yukon. It's one of my favorite books. It's not about poverty per se, but they definitely didn't have much and endured quite a lot.

I love Mrs. Mike!  Another sort of like that (this one's a novel, though) is Megan by Iris Noble, which is about a teenage Welsh orphan who gets adopted by a family emigrating to Alberta to farm.  And the family is pretty poor since they went into debt to buy farm equipment; the father and brother have to go back to the coal mines to make money.  I reread that book to TATTERS when I was thirteen! 
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Feivel2000

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #51 on: March 12, 2017, 09:56:59 AM »
The Forever War. The main character goes from having nothing to having a lot.
Interesting to see how the compound interest is working.

But it's primarily a science fiction book, don't buy it just for the financial / poverty aspects.


AMandM

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #52 on: March 16, 2017, 10:59:35 AM »
Ralph Moody's books, beginning with Little Britches.  Kind of like the Little House books, but centered on a boy and ranching out west.  "Eggs is eighteen cents a dozen!" became a family saying after my husband read these out loud to the kids.

<i>Five Little Peppers and How they Grew</i>

Sidney Taylor's <i>All-of-a-Kind Family</i> books.  NYC's Lower East Side in the early 20th century. The central family is actually better off than many of their neighbours--they have a whole flat instead of a tenement--but the general  environment is one in which everyone has to be careful with money.

Many of Joan Aiken's children's book, the <i>Wolves</i> Chronicles and others, feature plucky, intrepid hero(in)es whose poverty is one of their sources of strength.

Comar

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #53 on: March 30, 2017, 05:37:47 AM »
The Road by Cormac Mccarthy

I finished it a few days ago and it was one of the best books I've ever read. A father and his son pushing a grocery cart and trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world filled with cannibals. It really got to me, the relationship between the father and son. They REALLY appreciate what they have in the cart, for them it is a matter of living or dying.

Beautiful book. Made me cry.

Trudie

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #54 on: March 30, 2017, 02:27:16 PM »
+1 to Dickens.  They're always rags to riches to (usually) rags again.

galliver

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2017, 03:26:21 PM »
"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" does such a great job describing appreciating what one has, it treads really close to romanticizing poverty.
"The Secret Life of Bees" Farm life in the South in the 60's(?)...It's been a while.
"The Help" was interesting in its juxtaposition of the poverty and life circumstances of the housekeepers vs the generally well-to-do the women they serve(d).

From the engaging non-fiction side: the "Call the Midwife" trilogy.

bobechs

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2017, 03:40:16 PM »
1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

All Huck and Jim had was the raft, and they stole that everything on it and lost even all that before the ending.

2.  The Old Man and the Sea

Again, just a boat - oh, and a rotting fish and a dream- memory  (which may never have actually occured.)

3.  The Forsyte Saga

'Cause poverty is relative, don'cha know....

Sydneystache

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2017, 11:16:47 PM »
The Road by Cormac Mccarthy

I finished it a few days ago and it was one of the best books I've ever read. A father and his son pushing a grocery cart and trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world filled with cannibals. It really got to me, the relationship between the father and son. They REALLY appreciate what they have in the cart, for them it is a matter of living or dying.

Beautiful book. Made me cry.

I watched the movie based on the book which scared the bejesus out of me - the cannibalism scene was pretty horrific. One is enough - how many times was that described in the book? *shivers*

I can imagine somewhere in the world (Democratic Republic of Congo?) this is a daily threat with the proliferation of bush meat and all that.

bobechs

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #58 on: March 31, 2017, 01:46:19 PM »
The Road by Cormac Mccarthy

I finished it a few days ago and it was one of the best books I've ever read. A father and his son pushing a grocery cart and trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world filled with cannibals. It really got to me, the relationship between the father and son. They REALLY appreciate what they have in the cart, for them it is a matter of living or dying.

Beautiful book. Made me cry.

I watched the movie based on the book which scared the bejesus out of me - the cannibalism scene was pretty horrific. One is enough - how many times was that described in the book? *shivers*

I can imagine somewhere in the world (Democratic Republic of Congo?) this is a daily threat with the proliferation of bush meat and all that.

If cannibal themes creep you out, I would advise to steer well clear of The Three Stooges:




not to mention Gilligan's Island



you've been warned...

Sydneystache

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #59 on: March 31, 2017, 03:54:33 PM »
@bobechs Ha! I like that the ladies of the Gilligan crew are still striking a pose with their high heels.

SisterX

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #60 on: April 03, 2017, 09:14:41 AM »
I can't believe no one mentioned "Where the Red Fern Grows." I thought of it immediately - I remember how a square of tobacco was a huge deal, though maybe a bit more because it was a kid buying it. But they were definitely living in poverty.

Oh yeah! And there's always "The Outsiders". YA, but I read the shit out of that book in middle school. "Nothing gold can stay."

Elle 8

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #61 on: April 09, 2017, 04:39:39 PM »
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins

OthalaFehu

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #62 on: April 09, 2017, 05:21:08 PM »

I would have said The Good Earth and The Grapes of Wraith, somebody else already did,

My new addition would be The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
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jengod

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #63 on: April 15, 2017, 11:02:35 PM »
Another one that's not fiction but reads like fiction, I can never recommend Mrs. Mike enough. It's about a young woman who, in the early 1900s, was recommended to go north to Canada (from Boston) for her health. She met and married a Mountie when she was 15 and they ended up moving up to the Yukon. It's one of my favorite books. It's not about poverty per se, but they definitely didn't have much and endured quite a lot.

Added to my wish list. In turn you might like Betty MacDonald's Anybody Can Do Anything (Great Depression), The Egg and I (chicken farm hard times), and Onions in the Stew (happy times after the war).
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valsecito

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #64 on: April 20, 2017, 05:12:14 AM »
"Down and out in Paris and London", G. Orwell

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_and_Out_in_Paris_and_London

thesvenster

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #65 on: May 09, 2017, 04:10:04 PM »
The Road maybe? Ha that's about extreme poverty

I like Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun. It's sort of about climbing out of poverty.

Lookilu

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #66 on: May 18, 2017, 01:28:29 PM »
Not a novel, although it sometimes reads like one: All Over But The Shoutin' by Rick Bragg.

ditkanate

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #67 on: May 22, 2017, 12:41:16 PM »
Angela's Ashes.

Poignant and funny.  Things may be bad, but there's always someone who's worse off.

I absolutely second this!  It's not fiction but a biography that reads as fiction.  ....Man, I really want to talk about a spoiler here, but I'll keep it zipped.

Just finished this book.  Now I'm curious what you think a spoiler might be....  :/

trashmanz

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #68 on: June 06, 2017, 03:25:52 PM »
Not my favorite but some interesting parts and def. has poverty :
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29983711-pachinko

CloserToFree

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #69 on: June 07, 2017, 09:41:04 PM »
Great thread - I also love books like this.  I second the Little House series- recently reread them and loved them just as much as when I read them as a girl.  Also, maybe Hemingway's A Moveable Feast?  Such good food scenes and there are definitely times when he's broke but enjoying life.

Not a novel, but try the memoir Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng.  Beautifully done and so powerful.  Per Amazon: "the haunting, inspirational account of Nien Cheng's six-and-a-half years as a political prisoner during Communist China's Cultural Revolution."

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #70 on: June 07, 2017, 10:20:50 PM »
Great thread - I also love books like this.  I second the Little House series- recently reread them and loved them just as much as when I read them as a girl.  Also, maybe Hemingway's A Moveable Feast?  Such good food scenes and there are definitely times when he's broke but enjoying life.

Not a novel, but try the memoir Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng.  Beautifully done and so powerful.  Per Amazon: "the haunting, inspirational account of Nien Cheng's six-and-a-half years as a political prisoner during Communist China's Cultural Revolution."
If you like stuff regarding China during/just after the Cultural Revolution, the memoir Gang of One is also an interesting read.

lifejoy

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #71 on: June 11, 2017, 06:00:42 PM »
I just want to say thanks to all the participants of this thread! You guys have offered some brilliant suggestions here :)

I'll add: The Little Princess (yes the classic)

allsummerlong

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #72 on: June 12, 2017, 10:37:48 PM »
I just want to say thanks to all the participants of this thread! You guys have offered some brilliant suggestions here :)

I'll add: The Little Princess (yes the classic)


Great book :) Also really love The Secret Garden. Have you read Heidi by Joanna Spyri? I forgot to mention it earlier. Very similar themes.

ahueston

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #73 on: July 06, 2017, 10:12:22 AM »
Same kind of Different as me - About a homeless man and his relationship with a volunteer at a meal program.   

pachnik

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #74 on: July 06, 2017, 11:41:09 AM »
Not sure if Alcott's "Little Women" has been mentioned yet.  I didn't like it at all as youngster but I tried it again last Christmas and just loved it.   

Also, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.  Once Mr. Tulliver goes bankrupt, the family is definitely thrown into poverty.   

lifejoy

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #75 on: July 06, 2017, 03:15:05 PM »
It's great to have so many suggestions! I'm finally reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and while I'm enjoying the writing style, I'm finding the plot a bit slow...

daverobev

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #76 on: July 11, 2017, 06:03:17 PM »
Others have mentioned it, but I just read The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

I think the book is probably less... something than the film. I turned the film off after maybe 10 minutes a couple of years ago.

Some say the book is horror, rather than sci fi. I kept waiting for something really bad to happen... but the whole book is really bad. I mean, the setting is bad, the stuff that happens is mostly a grind with a few very disturbing events along the way.

A very fast read. ~300 pages I think but fairly large font.

Not sure quite what to make of it but it's very good. Horror, yes (I don't like horror). Moving. Depressing, sort've. Stark, bleak, beautiful (sort've).

Worth a read.
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Snow

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #77 on: August 04, 2017, 07:08:21 AM »
The name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)? The main character gets impoverished pretty soon into the story.

scantee

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #78 on: August 04, 2017, 08:04:49 AM »
A few more to add to your list...

Lila. Housekeeping. Both by Marilynne Robinson.


Comar

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #79 on: August 04, 2017, 05:24:13 PM »
The name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)? The main character gets impoverished pretty soon into the story.
A friend of mine recommended it to me. So the character being impoverished is a big deal for him? He's frugal? A gambler?

dorothyc

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #80 on: August 04, 2017, 06:07:30 PM »
Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford is well worth reading. It was originally three books that were merged into one in 1945 and are her semi autobiographic writings about rural English life on a tenant farm and her first job after leaving home.

I didn't know this book was a TV series until I looked for the author's name.

deborah

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #81 on: August 04, 2017, 07:00:05 PM »
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Catherine Cookson - a bestselling author with 74 novels all about poverty.

Betty Smith wrote several other books - Tomorrow will be better and Joy in the Morning

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #82 on: August 04, 2017, 08:17:32 PM »
The name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)? The main character gets impoverished pretty soon into the story.
A friend of mine recommended it to me. So the character being impoverished is a big deal for him? He's frugal? A gambler?

Was going to recommend the same book.  Main character more or less starts as a homeless kid living on the streets.  It's a fantasy genre if you enjoy that, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books.
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Comar

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #83 on: August 05, 2017, 05:54:22 PM »
The name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)? The main character gets impoverished pretty soon into the story.
A friend of mine recommended it to me. So the character being impoverished is a big deal for him? He's frugal? A gambler?

Was going to recommend the same book.  Main character more or less starts as a homeless kid living on the streets.  It's a fantasy genre if you enjoy that, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books.

Funny story. Today I went to my small local library with my wife and son like we are used to most weekends. I was browsing through a small box with books for sale. 2 dollars each. Most of the books were pretty boring,  old autobiographies, cooking books, worn and torn childrens books. Maybe 5 books in english out of a 100 or so. There it was hiding. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. After asking you about it just yesterday and out of the thousands of books the could have put there for sale. This one. Surely a sign from the mustachian god. I bought it without a second thought.

Snow

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #84 on: August 07, 2017, 05:05:14 AM »
The name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)? The main character gets impoverished pretty soon into the story.
A friend of mine recommended it to me. So the character being impoverished is a big deal for him? He's frugal? A gambler?

Frugal by necessity, but also too clever for his own good. I don't want to give any spoilers, but it's pretty clear that the author knows a thing or two about pinching pennies.

Acastus

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #85 on: August 10, 2017, 09:06:28 AM »
If you are interested in a fantasy setting with a bunch of witty social commentary, I recommend Terry Pratchett. My favorite bit from "Men at Arms" is very mustachian: 

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

dorothyc

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #86 on: August 10, 2017, 01:19:41 PM »
Not a novel but a published survey : Maud Pember Reeves' and Charlotte Webb's Round About a Pound a Week from 1913.
The mention of Vimes's boots made me think of it. It explains stuff like using the same piece of soap to bathe the baby as to clean the hearth and why bakery bread is preferred over porridge.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #87 on: August 26, 2017, 04:42:29 PM »
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. And it's a movie now.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 04:44:37 PM by Chesleygirl »

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Re: Favourite novels that have poverty?
« Reply #88 on: September 18, 2017, 01:52:48 PM »
The Pursuit of Happyness might interest you.

It involves a guy going from being homeless to achieving financial success. He appreciates things a lot more and ends up being very generous with his money.
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