Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy

A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis

Book - 2016
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Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062300546
0062300547
Branch Call Number: B VANCE
Characteristics: 264 pages ;,24 cm

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CMLibrary_sdeason Feb 13, 2020

Interesting read. I learned a lot about this part of the population and hardships that are removed from where we live. It is not representative of everyone in that area, but it is an idea of what some people face day to day. Just the discussion about why paycheck cashing services are necessary ma... Read More »

May 2018 Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past.


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CMLibrary_sdeason Feb 13, 2020

Interesting read. I learned a lot about this part of the population and hardships that are removed from where we live. It is not representative of everyone in that area, but it is an idea of what some people face day to day. Just the discussion about why paycheck cashing services are necessary made me open my eyes.

s
sunnyblonde
Jan 12, 2020

Interesting book which shed some light on a demographic not often positively portrayed in literature.

a
aprilm336
Dec 28, 2019

June

k
Kimberley1445
Nov 05, 2019

I enjoyed this book. It described the family life in Appallacia America. It gave history about the migration of people from Kentucky.

b
bell5133
Oct 03, 2019

An entertaining and thought provoking memoir of J.D.’s life from childhood growing up (mostly in Middletown, Ohio) through his adulthood as a Marine and a law student at Yale. I learned about hillbilly culture; that the bullying problem can be solved with violence; the benefits of payday loans; how the Marines is effective at teaching respect, discipline, responsibility, and maturity; that to be successful in college and careers, the most important thing is connections; and that even if you come from a poor family with violence and drug addiction, you can be successful in life if you believe you can do it, work hard, and have a relatively good role model. I like that statistical facts were put in the book so that it wasn’t all just opinions without any backing.

Favorite quote: “No person’s childhood gives him or her a perpetual moral get-out-of-jail-free card.” (334)

d
danielestes
Sep 13, 2019

The deck was stacked against J. D. Vance for nearly his entire young life, but he defied the insurmountable odds and escaped an all-to-common life of poverty and despair. Hearing his story, you can see it was a mix of luck, second chances, and, above all else, persistent and grinding hard work.

In another context, this book achieved a sudden popularity as it was published a few months before Donald Trump's surprise election, and journalist were scrambling to try and understand this seemingly forgotten underclass.

k
knradach
Sep 12, 2019

I felt like I learned something I didn't know. I didn't grow up in a small town in the Appalachian mountains, I didn't grow up so poor that I felt my only prospects were a blue-collar manual labor job, babies out of wedlock, drugs, jail, etc.. so yes, I learned something. But overall, this took me a while to read because it at times read more like a research paper, citing evidence, than a memoir. I'm not disappointed I read it, but I don't know how much I will recommend it to others.

d
dirtbag1
Aug 26, 2019

I was expecting more from this book. Instead 99% of this story surrounds the authors growing up in a dysfunctional family and his unlikely climb up the ladder of the American Dream. There are a couple of observations of note however when he went back to his high school to talk to some of his old teachers. One of these is what everybody knows and his former teachers agree to is that you can almost tell which students come from dysfunctional families by the struggles they have in school both scholastically and socially. Teachers I know say the same.

k
KlügerKater
Aug 16, 2019

Although there are some enjoyable, anecdotal moments of this book where Vance recalls moments of his life growing up in both Kentucky and Ohio, this book cannot be be taken as a definitive look at the culture of the Appalachian region, nor as an academic work. Though Vance does claim his book to be "apolitical", it is rife with the same conservative and neoliberal platitudes (poor people are just lazy, just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, etc.) recycled time and time again, yet veiled behind the guise of an innocent memoir. Having grown up in Breathitt County myself (for far longer than Vance ever spent time there) some things he describes certainly ring true; however, characterizing an entire region as Scots-Irish and drawing on overly broad generalizations of a diverse culture, not only erases the identities of people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are too very much a part of this culture, but white-washes a very complex interplay of social, political, and artistic aspects.

Verdict: Enjoy the anecdotal moments Vance shares, but do not apply them broadly to the culture at large. Nancy Isenberg's "White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America" addresses issues of class and race in this area of the country in a much more powerful and academic way--a much better read, too!

a
ancahalip
Aug 15, 2019

While laying in words the story of his upbringing and the problems in his family and community ( poverty, drug addiction, violence … ), the gist of the book (really) is the author's position on WHY the once Democratic States (namely) OHIO, WV, IN and especially Kentucky in the Bible Belt area turned 180 degrees, from their sturdy convictions to the Republican ones. While the story is a rather compelling one, in a sort of way, … however, the argument is rather 'weak'. To base your rather single-sided observation of a community which was and remained a religious area (the Bible Belt) and to blind yourself and not talk (seriously, that is) about the Democratic Party's direction on this important aspect and, more importantly about the democratic civil right movement is peculiar to say the least, especially coming from a, now Harvard graduate. Read the book as it was picked up by the book-club I belong to, but found no literary merits in this book either; if anything, the story is one of 'endurance' - a story of resilience in face of adversity - a success story of a man who grew up in harsh conditions but managed to became a successful able to lead a meaningful life for himself and society - and for that: "Hats down"! JD Vance

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LThomas_Library
May 07, 2018

Other: Topics: Inequality, Race, Religion, Education, Mental Health (Substance Abuse)

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Frightening and intense scenes.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Sexual Content: Strong sexual content.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Violence: Strong violence.

l
LThomas_Library
May 05, 2018

Coarse Language: Strong language.

Age

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bell5133
Jan 16, 2020

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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bell5133
Oct 03, 2019

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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LThomas_Library
May 04, 2018

LThomas_Library thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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runningbeat
Mar 17, 2017

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Summary

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dzacher
Jun 28, 2017

In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck. 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.

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bell5133
Jan 16, 2020

“No person’s childhood gives him or her a perpetual moral get-out-of-jail-free card.” (334)

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