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I’ve seen Hillbilly Elegy mentioned over and over again by various different people online and in podcasts. I didn’t plan to read it because the premise didn’t really interest me that much.
But then I saw that it happened to be available on the Libby app, so I went ahead and put a hold on it just because so many people had recommended it.
I started listening to it and almost didn’t continue because there was so much language in it (seriously! Do not listen to this with kids around — there are a LOT of curse words!)
Here’s the part of the premise of the book from the back cover:
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. 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.
I thought the book was surprising, pretty fair and balanced (I expected the author to lean strongly to one side of the political aisle or the other — and that the book would be more politically charged as a result), and a very insightful look into how our upbringing can affect our life trajectory in such a powerful way.
While I wish there weren’t so much crass language and cussing in the book (though I think it’s likely just the author being truthful and honest to how his family actually talked), I think the book is worth reading — if you can stomach all of the f-bombs in it.
I would be curious to hear from other people who were raised in this same region and social class — to know their perspective on the things he shares. It’s the type of book I’d love to read with a Book Club because I found it caused me to have so many thought and questions and things I wanted to discuss with others who had read it.
Have you read it? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought — whether you liked it or totally disliked it.
When I Find Time to Read
People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.
I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.