Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams
Author and journalist Alfred Lubrano grew up a bricklayer's son, but his father wanted him to go to college. His book, Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams, opens up with a description of both son and father Lubrano at Columbia University, Alfred inside a classroom and his father laying bricks outside at another building.
This image sets up the main conflict that working class folks face when we transition to and live in a middle (or owning) class world. He calls people like me "straddlers," as in we're straddling both worlds.
Like me, Lubrano was bookish as a child, and never quite fit-in entirely with his solidly working class Brooklyn friends. In his experience going to Columbia University and becoming a journalist, he never quite fit-in to middle class corporate culture.
In true journalistic style, Lubrano not only writes about his own experience in Limbo, he interviews dozens of other "straddlers," who are aware of the class conflict in their lives.
Lubrano writes about family, work and love conflict, some of which a working class person might experience in very middle and owning class Quaker Meeting. He doesn't only write about conflict, but he holds up people and situations as examples of well-integrated lives.
I just wish I could be one of those people right now!
I'm plowing through the book, and read aloud from it to Liz quite a bit. I find it affirming of my experience. If you read it, would you let me know in the comments?
Alfred Lubrano has a blog on the Philadelphia Inquirer's website here. You can also read a piece he wrote about being a class straddler here.
Post Script: When I told George Lakey I'd read Limbo, he added his enthusiastic response to it as well. He told me:
I wrote a long letter to Lubrano after reading [Limbo], telling him about my laughing and crying through it...Me, too George. Me too.
Post Post Script: I'd posted on her that George Lakey would be doing a class workshop at Ben Lomond Quaker Center in March. He is, but March 2009. Look for more info here late next year! And, he won't be doing his class workshop at Gathering this year; I, on the other hand, will be holding an interest group.