A Memoir of A Family and Culture in CrisisBook - 2016
From Library Staff
BostonPL_JordanD Dec 17, 2019
Book discussion date: January 28th, 2020. Memoir. 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
BostonPL_EileenS Jun 14, 2017
This memoir, by a former marine and Yale Law school graduate who grew up in the Rust Belt town of Middletown, Ohio, is both a compelling story, and a sociological study of working-class America
BostonPL_EileenS Feb 07, 2020
Biography/Memoir. Discussed February 15.
Combining memoir with sociological analysis, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate chronicles the plight of white working-class Americans through the author's own experiences growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. "Hillbilly Elegy" was named by the "New York Times" as on... Read More »
BostonPL_LauraB Jan 30, 2017
For people who have never lived in a rural area, or frankly anywhere other than a coast (the coastal elite), this memoir will be shocking to you and possibly give you answers that you are seeking after the election (or at least that is what many reviews will have you believe). Because I went in t... Read More »
From the critics
Other: Topics: Inequality, Race, Religion, Education, Mental Health (Substance Abuse)
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“There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.
Here is where the rhetoric of modern conservatives (and I say this as one of them) fails to meet the real challenges of their biggest constituents. Instead of encouraging engagement, conservatives increasingly foment the kind of detachment that has sapped the ambition of so many of my peers. I have watched some friends blossom into successful adults and others fall victim in the worst of Middletown’s temptations – premature parenthood, drugs, incarceration. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations that they had for their own lives. Yet the message of the right is increasingly: It is not your fault that you are a loser; it’s the government’s fault.”
“There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day."
“No person’s childhood gives him or her a perpetual moral get-out-of-jail-free card.” (334)
“whenever people ask me what I’d most like to change about the white working class, I say, “The feeling that our choices don’t matter.”
― J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
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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.