Hillbilly Elegy | J.D. Vance | 272 pages | 2016
Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance’s breakout memoir about growing up poor in a series of Appalachian towns, is a personal and probing look at the afflictions of American’s working class. Vance, a former Marine and Yale Law School graduate, chronicles a chaotic childhood beset by poverty, substance abuse and cultural pressures which punished intellectual curiosity and visions of a better life. Vance managed ultimately to break the cycle and achieve a comfortable life and professional career, but his tale is harrowing.
The book, an initially surprising best-seller [Vance is a first-time author, and not a great one; it’s his story that sells the book], Elegy saw its popularity grow in the midst of a 2016 election season during which the plight of the working class was a constant theme.
An interesting look at an increasingly challenged American demographic. Recommend.