Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: A Review

This memoir has been added to many must read lists as we are now in a country where a Donald Trump presidency is possible. It is suppose to explain to some extent why the outcome of the election happened the way it did. It is suppose to connect with the core of the American blue collar worker that was not happy.

Vance does a good job of explaining his background and even that of many that moved from Appalachia searching for better jobs and pay. He grew up in circumstances that those growing up in the middle class would find hard to understand. He also is eager to get away from that culture to an extent where he wants to better his life and break the cycle of anger and violence that he associates with being a “hillbilly.”

Whether it gets to the core of our current political situation, I cannot quite say. It touches upon it and does reiterate the displeasure of not being able to move up within society. Therefore, the people to blame would be the current administration that is running the government. I will admit that being a white male from a middle class family, I have a hard time connecting the two.

Overall, Vance is a great writer and shares his story beautifully. To be born into a family in the hill country of Kentucky and to raise himself up to attend Yale and become an attorney is a great success story. One, as he says, helps deliver the American Dream.

Perhaps though, we need to rethink the American Dream.

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