Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a book I picked up after reading Rod Dreher rave about it on his blog. I'm thankful I did so. I'd encourage you to do the same.
There were so many things in this book that resonated with my experiences growing up in a poor, working class white family in North Idaho. Not everything in Vance's Ohio/Kentucky hillbilly experience was familiar to me (praise God); but the descriptions of community breakdown and multi-generation despair rang true.
Vance writes with a brutal honesty and keen insight into the flaws of his people, yet he manages to do so in a tone that is sympathetic and compassionate, rather than scornful or arrogant. As I read this book I felt at alternating times happiness, despair, gratitude, anger, enjoyment, and grief. Both for Vance as a person, and for his people. For myself, and for my people. Perhaps the best single word to describe this book would be: haunting.
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