Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is the story of J.D. Vance’s mixed upbringing and shows how your family and culture can ‘stick’ to you even when you successfully graduate from a prestigious university education and start a successful career.
Early on in the book, Vance explains how his family came to live in Ohio: ‘To my grandparents, the goal was to get out of Kentucky and give their kids a head start. The kids, in turn, were expected to do something with that head start. It didn’t quite work out that way.’ Vance’s mum had a lot of issues with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as introducing a string of men to him and his sister – and whether they were bad or good, none of them stuck around for too long. Life with his mum was unstable and dysfunctional.
Luckily though, grandparents Mamaw and Papaw were there to provide a calm, loving, safe and stable ‘second home’, which the author believes saved him as it allowed to see not only the worst, but also the best, of his community.
Read the full review on my blog: shereads