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October 2017: Society > Hillbilly Elegy - Vance - 4 stars

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message 1: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2813 comments Hillbilly Elegy A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy - Vance
4 stars

I’m glad I didn’t read this book during the election cycle when it was getting so much attention. I think that would have distracted me from the original intent of the book. Reading it now allowed me to appreciate this book for what it is, an extremely well written memoir. It’s also reasonably well researched social commentary. Vance’s prose is direct and uncomplicated. He managed to be interesting and entertaining while tying his personal history to the complex problems of the larger community. I read very few memoirs, but this one held my attention from beginning to end.

I have a sense that Vance has some survivor guilt. He wants to know why he managed to rise above his dysfunctional background when so many others do not. He doesn’t have any definitive answers, but he knows some of the important things that worked for him. It can’t be easy to expose so many intimate and painful memories, even when they result in a best selling book. Vance cites a some research studies and a few books devoted to the social and psychological issues that his own story highlights. However, research is dry in the telling. It’s the personal stories that make hard line statistics a reality.


message 2: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3809 comments Really looking forward to this for this month's read. So many positive reviews on a very interesting subject.

I didn't realize this was getting hype during the election season- what was the purpose of using this book then for?


message 3: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2813 comments The book got a lot of attention before and after the election because of the 'rust belt' vote. Google J.D. Vance and you can watch multiple interviews on various news venues in 2016. It's interesting and depressing to watch them now.


message 4: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 485 comments I am reading this now and agree with your review. Vance is a wonderful writer.


message 5: by Denizen (new)

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments Vance started writing the book before the last election. It was just a lucky break for him that it ended up so timely. A lucky break for us, too, or the book might not have received the extensive press and I for one may not have picked it up. I gave the book 5 stars.


message 6: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3809 comments Jgrace wrote: "The book got a lot of attention before and after the election because of the 'rust belt' vote. Google J.D. Vance and you can watch multiple interviews on various news venues in 2016. It's interesti..."

Very interesting, thanks for clarifying!


message 7: by Joni (new)

Joni | 612 comments I loved this book. Getting ready to review it myself. It was also my October Society book.


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