Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work, Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1997. Pp. xxxi, 305. $42.50 (hbk.), $19.95 (pbk.).

As recently as a few months ago, I was full of anecdotes of my own experience with welfare and welfare reform based on years of representing low-income clients as a legal-services lawyer and clinical teacher. Since I read Making Ends Meet, however, I have a new set of anecdotes, referring to the book several times a week. In discussions with students, I point out where Edin and Lein's findings agree (or disagree) with the students' own observations. I repeatedly ask colleagues if they have read the book. I reappraise my clients' work situations in terms of Edin and Lein's findings. My colleague Kathleen Sullivan and I decided to assign the book for our Spring Community Legal Services clinic, in which students provide legal services to low-income people in New Haven. In short, I have acted as though Making Ends Meet is a very important book. At the risk of courting hyperbole, Making Ends Meet may be the most important resource we have in trying to figure which road to take in our ongoing journey toward welfare reform.

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