J-Dub’s Review of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I did not pick this book.  Instead it was the May selection for the Schaefer’s Skimmers and Sippers Book Club.  I resisted a bit because of the subject matter.  I saw something similar on 60 Minutes and was horrified.  Oh and mini-side bar, 60 Minutes is my new FAVORITE show. I had quit watching because of the time it aired but now with the magic of the Hopper by Dish, I watch the recorded shows.  Usually at 2 am on Saturday mornings when I have the worst insomnia ever. But that is another story.

Back to the book.  True story bio on one J.D. Vance.  He writes about his “hillbilly” family origins in Jackson, Kentucky migrating to Middletown, Ohio where he was born. Those Appalachian roots were a major influence on who he became.  He didn’t meet his birth father until later in life and never really had a good relationship with him.  J.D. was raised in an almost communal family between his mom who struggled with addiction (and her many partners – I think she got up to husband #5), his grandparents (main caretakers, especially his Mamaw) and extended maternal relatives.  First of his clan to … you name it.  He was a poor kid who made it through.  He served in the Marines, went to Ohio State University and then ended up earning a JD from Yale law school.  A real rags to riches story.

Unfortunately I am going through some stuff and I found the memoir depressing.  Lots of transference and well now I am just sort of pissed off.  I have come to the conclusion that people are just different.  Some fare better than others.  There is a genetic and socio-economic aspect to all things yet I am so sick and tired of people “blaming” those aspects for the final outcome.

Statistics show … Fuck statistics, one can make anything look a certain way with spin. I am so fucking dizzy.  People are defying statistics and beating the odds daily. And then sadly some are not.  Why? What makes the difference?  If someone can find that answer, bottle it and sell it, we’d all be in fucking nirvana.

Not much of a recommendation I guess.  Though I am 99.9 percent sure others will not come away with the same sentiments I did.  You see I’ve got issues.  Did I mention I am going through some stuff?

3.5 out of 5 stars.

As always, more to come.


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