Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July #LibraryLoveChallenge - Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Welcome to the July #LobraryLoveChallenge. The Library Love Challenge is hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures & Brooke Blogs. This month was a non-fiction, a memoir about the decline of the Appalachian culture. 

ISBN-13: 978-0062300546
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: 6-28-2016
Length: 272pp


From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

My Review:

Hillbilly Elegy Review

Hillbilly Elegy is J.D. Vance’s account of growing up the grandson of Hillbillies from the Kentucky mountains who migrate to the upper Midwest to trade mining for coal to manufacturing steel and who brought all the abusive behavior, alcoholism and dysfunction with them and passed it along not only to their children but their grandchildren too. It’s also his coming of age story and how he overcame a volatile childhood of revolving stepdads and drug addict mother with the help of his Hillbilly grandparents and eventually not only went to college but earned his law degree from Yale.
When they say truth is stranger than fiction they must have read this book because this family put the D is dysfunction. Distantly related to the Hatfield’s of Hatfield’s McCoy fame readers will learn of abuse both physical and verbal, alcoholism and drug addiction; a culture in crisis. They’ll read about an incident where a drug store is shot up and called Hillbilly Justice, marriages failing, children flunking and not for lack of opportunities but for a lack of knowing where to look for those opportunities and who to ask for directions to them.
It’s interesting, it’s disturbing and it’s inspirational too. It difficult to grasp but its fast paced tempo makes it easy to read. Fans of memoirs and experiencing different cultures will enjoy this.

Connect with J.D. Twitter
Meet J.D.:
J.D. Vance is an investor, a political and public policy commentator, and a bestselling author. Raised by his working class grandparents in Middletown, Ohio, J.D. graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and then enlisted in the Marine Corps. He deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After graduating from Ohio State University where he studied Political Science and Philosophy, he studied at Yale Law School. Vance earned his law degree in 2013.
He serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital. He is a partner at Revolution and works on Rise of the Rest, a nationwide effort to work closely with entrepreneurs. He returned to Ohio to found “Our Ohio Renewal,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state’s opioid crisis.
Vance splits his time between Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. He is married to one of his former law school classmates, Usha, an Indian-American who is a law clerk to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The couple has one son, Ewan, born on 4 June, 2017.

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