Review: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

This week I finally completed my first book for Nonfiction November!

I first heard of “Hillbilly Elegy” about a year ago when it popped up on my Netflix “What to Watch Next”. At that time, I had no idea that it was based on a true story and that it was an adaptation of a memoir. I found the movie to be compelling and unlike anything else I have ever seen before, so when I found this book in a Little Free Library a few months ago, I decided to give it a shot.

Although I was already familiar with the storyline and some details of J.D.’s life and upbringing, I was unaware of the politics around this book until I started reading it and researching more about it.

J.D. shares his family’s story of moving north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Middletown, Ohio, in hopes of a better life. Although J.D. was able to successfully put Middletown behind him, join the Marines, and later graduate from Yale Law School, it was not until further in his adult life that he realized the constant, profound struggle his family endured when trying to meet the demands of their new middle-class lifestyle.

His personal experiences are intertwined with statistics to support his viewpoints and opinions (which are controversial, so I advise you take this book with a grain of salt).

That being said, I can appreciate this book for what it is: an autobiographical account of Vance growing up in poverty, his family structure, and life lessons learned along the way.



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