Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy

A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis

Book - 2016
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Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062300546
Branch Call Number: 305.56209 V2772h 2016
Characteristics: 264 pages ; 24 cm

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From Library Staff

This is our book for February 22, 2018.

This is our book for February 22, 2018.

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PimaLib_LaurenH Jan 04, 2018

I grew up in the deep south and I was really hopeful about this book. Unfortunately, I hated it. It was deeply condescending and hard to get through for that alone. I know this one's really popular, but if you're looking to gain a better understanding of the working class South/Appalachia, this b... Read More »

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PimaLib_NormS May 03, 2017

Here’s my two cents on J.D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”. I liked the book, but the use of the word “hillbilly” got me to thinking. I have Appalachian roots, and as Vance uses the word, I am a hillbilly. I am not embarrassed or upset at being called ... Read More »

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PimaLib_AmyK Mar 21, 2017

I liked this book...but I think it's a bit overrated. I will say that I was expecting more of a sociological/economical study, something with statistics, etc., that might explain why some social classes can't seem to get ahead in this country. This is not that book. Nonetheless, it's well written... Read More »


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e
elihaugen
Apr 13, 2018

This author associates with and supports the cause of white supremacists, which is to exterminate people who are not white. As if that isn't bad enough, this work blames the very victims of poverty rather than the causes of it. As someone who has personally experienced a childhood of poverty in Appalachia, I know there are far better books to read like Ramp Hollow and What You Are Getting Wrong about Appalachia.

I found this story boring. I am sorry he had such a difficult childhood but this is not especially well written, nor does it provide social analysis, other than the obvious need for meaningful work and decent education systems in the state. It is sad that there are such communities of adults who cannot control their anger or take responsibility for their children and for their environment. Only the intellectually gifted escape... sometimes.

Intrigued because I knew of several people reading this, I did so myself. It's not bad. It's generally well edited and moves briskly, particularly the first half. I noticed that I lost sympathy with the author as he moved beyond junior high school. Once in the U.S. Marine Corps and then onto Ohio State and from there Yale Law he becomes like every other cocky salesman you have had the misfortune to be seated near at a restaurant during a lunchtime rush. I would like to think otherwise but HILLBILLY ELEGY is nothing more than RAGGED DICK for the present age. It's no wonder that an interview with Vance in The American Conservative magazine was key to popularizing the book.

s
Sammy101617
Jan 12, 2018

Excellent, great writing and would read again

p
pmaison
Jan 11, 2018

3 stars - This book garnered so much media buzz as a "must read to understand the lives of Appalachian poor white folk". Well, this story did some of that, but you have to understand that it's foremost an autobiography of the author's struggle to move beyond the rocky shores of his particular upbringing. On that level it's an impressive story, though told through unexceptional prose. In the end I felt let down that there was little attempt by the author to circle back on the larger story of how today's Appalachia might -- or might not -- be a different place than it used to be.

PimaLib_LaurenH Jan 04, 2018

I grew up in the deep south and I was really hopeful about this book. Unfortunately, I hated it. It was deeply condescending and hard to get through for that alone. I know this one's really popular, but if you're looking to gain a better understanding of the working class South/Appalachia, this book ain't it.

m
MaxCW26
Jan 02, 2018

Good insight into issues plaguing the rust belt and Appalachia. Highly recommend for everyone.

m
mjohnson313
Dec 29, 2017

For all of the buzz, I'm not really sure what epiphanies J.D. Vance's lackluster prose are supposed to elicit. His conclusions are fairly rudimentary: broken families lead to youth without support systems lead to bad decisions or coping behaviors that maintain the cycle of poverty. Nothing ground breaking here.

The primary tool is a first-person account of life inside the cycle, with anecdotal evidence providing a clear demonstration of the adverse effects of a childhood without stability. Of course, many of those stories (even the ones that in theory demonstrate the author's "damage" or "challenges") somehow reinforce the success of the hero—whether triumphing as a hillbilly or in his escape from the hillbilly community.

It's fine, but not the tour de force of insightful retrospective I was expecting.

s
sarahmonson
Dec 26, 2017

would recommend to a friend

j
jr3083
Dec 18, 2017

J. D. Vance grew up in Middletown Ohio, but his cultural roots were in Jackson, Kentucky. "Middletown Ohio!"- it sounds like a Billy Joel song. Even his name, which is unexceptional at first glance, tells his story. ‘Jay Dot Dee Dot’ is what he called himself, but the names which the letters abbreviated changed, as did his surname, as his mother churned through a series of marriages that ended in failure. The real anchor in his life was his grandmother, Mamaw (pronounced Ma’am-aw), who along with her husband Papaw, made the trek northwest to join the steel-manufacturing workforce in Ohio in the post WWII boom. His grandparents had had a rocky marriage but hostilities had ebbed, and of all their children, it was J.D.’s mother (Mom) who was probably the most troubled. She was a nurse, but fell in and out of addiction to prescription drugs, and bounced quickly from one marriage to another, dragging her children Lindsay and J.D. with her. It was only when J.D. finally settled with his grandmother Mamaw on a permanent basis that he had enough structure in his life to settle at school, eventually gaining entry to Yale Law School. It is from this vantage point – the kid who escaped – that he writes this book that makes sense of, but does not excuse, the hillbilly culture that is dying around him.
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This book is, in effect, a survivor story and an ethnographic report from an insider/outsider.
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It would be nice if one single book could offer a solution to the world's ills. That's not going to happen, and its not going to be this book. But in terms of setting out a coherent, if unfamiliar worldview held by important voting-blocs in America, this is an instructive and fascinating report from the other side.

For my complete review, go to https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/hillbilly-elegy-a-memoir-of-a-family-and-culture-in-crisis-by-j-d-vance/

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runningbeat
Mar 17, 2017

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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dzacher
Jun 28, 2017

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. A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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