This is a book review.
I love it when I find a book that hits home.
Something I can relate to because it’s based on places, people, and things I actually know.
NO, I don’t know the author of today’s tome, but I know plenty of people like him.
I might even be one.
On the surface, JD Vance seems like the American Success Story. And, in a way, he is – but, not completely.
His book, Hillbilly Elegy*: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis from Harper Collins is a great read, and is available on your nook, assuming you have one.
I saw him on CNN one morning while I was getting ready for work, and thought the subject matter, the demise of the white working class would be an interesting read.
Little did I know he grew UP in Middletown, Ohio, only nine miles down the road from where I lived in Germantown.
Once I found that out, I was completely hooked.
I recognized the places, businesses, streets, schools, and hospitals, most of which aren’t there any longer, he referenced in the book.
Much of what he wrote about hit home.
Granted, his hillbilly grandmother and mine were quite unalike in many ways, but there were similarities as well.
First of all, I never heard either of mine swear; his Mawmaw was quite the potty mouth. If foul language offends, you may want to avoid the book; but I’ll have to say, you can get past it if you try.
The book sheds light on the centuries old value systems provided to Scots-Irish stock through the generations.
Vance’s book helps those of us who come from Appalachian Scots-Irish and German families understand what makes “hillbillies” tick, why they live the way they do, and the choices they make.
It’s a different breed.
His family came from Jackson County, Kentucky, moving to Middletown to work at Armco Steel, later Armco Kawasaki Steel, later not there any longer.
Vance got out.
It’s a miracle he did, and his success story gives hope to every young man and woman who feels trapped by the families they were born into.
He tells his story with humor, which must have been hard to do. His comparison between the dreadful hand of cards he was dealt and his drive and gumption to not only survive but thrive and escape the life is gripping.
It’s an easy read; you’re cheering him on the entire way.
Sure, sure, there are a few people you want to smack along the way, but don’t worry. Mawmaw does that for you.
Everyone in Middletown should read this book.
Everyone in Germantown should read this book.
You’ll find out more about yourself – maybe more than you want to.
*An Elegy is a form of poetry, generally a poem of serious reflection. Most typically used as a lament for the dead.