Welcome back to my Nonfiction Book Party!
Today’s featured book is part memoir and part social commentary. It was published in 2016 and tells the authors story of how despite growing up in Kentucky and Ohio and living among the extreme poverty and violence of the “hill people”, he managed to graduate from Ohio State University and Yale Law School.
“I cannot tell that story without appealing to the cast of characters who made up my life. So this book is not just a personal memoir but a family one – a history of opportunity and upward mobility viewed through the eyes of a group of hillbillies from Appalachia.”
Netflix will begin streaming the movie adaptation starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams on November 24th. Unfortunately the critics are not loving it (see news article below) and it will be interesting to see if either of these actors finally receive an academy award for their work in the film.
Title: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Author: J.D. Vance
Synopsis: Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.
Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love.” They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle-class life, and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history.
Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working-class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how “hillbillies” lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.
At times funny, disturbing, and deeply moving, this is a family history that is also a troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.
What is the Nonfiction Book Party? All month long I’ll be sharing newly released nonfiction titles and some of my 5-star favorites too! Join me on Instagram for an epic book party with an amazing prize pack. Tag all your posts #NonfictionBookParty
Bloggers: Make sure to blog along with DoingDeweyDecimal, JulzReads, What’s NonFiction, and Shelf Aware and follow #NonFicNov. Over on BookTube, get the details on #NonfictionNovember20 and join the Goodreads Group here.
Want to see which books I’ve posted about in previous years? (And which books are STILL on my list?!)
Did you enjoy this post? Please take a few seconds and click to retweet! Are you reading nonfiction this month? Join the party! #NonfictionBookParty #NonFicNov #theOCBookGirl Click To Tweet
Thank you for supporting this blog and the books I recommend! This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link. I may have received a book for free in exchange for my honest review, however, all opinions are my own.
If you want to purchase any books I’ve featured, please use my online bookstore: BookShop.org (Amazon gets enough of our money. Find and support your local bookstore using this link.)