Critical Reading Review – “Evicted”


“Evicted” By Matthew Desmond shows the real life story of many people that live in America today. The story of the struggles of poverty especially when it comes to keeping a place to call home. Told from a personal point of view, Desmond immersed himself in the lives of the people with these everyday struggles, spending a great deal of time in an unruly trailer park in Milwaukee. In these days, Desmond spent his time following around those who experience the hardship of eviction as well as the people who evict others. Some of these people include: Lamar, a veteran left with no legs and a pile of debt he struggles to work out of, Scott a nurse who struggles with a heroin addiction, Arleen, a single mother raising two sons on what minimal money is left after paying the rent, and Sherrena and Tobin, two landlords of different housing units that house many of the impoverished. By focusing on either side of the eviction process, both sides of the story are accurately represented, creating an unbiased truth to the situation, showing on either end there is emotional and mental stress. Arleen, the single mom, comments, “Just my soul is messed up. Sometimes I find my body trembling or shaking.” as she goes through a great deal to secure a roof over her children’s and her own head after becoming evicted.

Matthew Desmond not only share with the reader the real life situations of many people that live in America today, but also provides an idea to fix much of the issues that come along with eviction of the impoverished. He states how rent price restrictions should be enforced to prevent landlords from charging too high. By doing this, it sets a reasonable line that many people in these situations can most likely afford. Another solution proposed the expansion of the government Housing Choice Voucher Program, or in other words, more Section 8 areas available. Lastly, he states that states should fund legal representation in housing court for those being evicted and cannot afford to hire a legal representative.

Matthew Desmond takes the readers on a heartbreaking and impactful journey that shows the hidden truths that lie in America’s broken system of helping those in the lower class. He beautifully portrays the hardships 8 families in the slums of Milwaukee go through from a ground zero approach. The aspect of “Evicted” that shows true work that went into this piece of scholarship is the dedication and intricacy that went into the collection of information. All of this makes Desmond’s main point of tackling housing to therefore tackle the bigger picture of poverty as a whole.