Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J D Vance is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long while. This is a sad, but true tale written by a young man who had a tumultuous childhood. Thankfully, Vance was able to successfully overcome the fate which many others born and raised in Appalachia often succumb to.
The story told is unfortunately one which is all too common, but what I liked about this book is Vance’s social commentary and analysis of the causes which continue to fuel poverty and ignorance in certain segments of the population in our country. As an Appalachian, he addresses the need for significant social and economic change.
During his formative years, Vance lived in poverty, had a drug addicted mother, multiple father figures, and influential grandparents to whom he could run. After high school, military service in the United States Marines helped him learn many lessons which fueled his success at Ohio State and ultimately at Yale Law School.
Vance succeeded in breaking the cycle of poverty and his memoir goes beyond his experiences to offer advice and hope for others in similar circumstances.
With the exception of the preponderance of curse words employed in this memoir, I learned a great deal about the plight of people living in Appalachia. I pray it’s message is heard and helps others to change their lives for the better. Recommended!