The Hillbilly Eligy by J. D. Vance is a memoir of a boy growing up in Ohio in a [sic] white working class family that had its fair share of hardship and troubles with addiction. Its written very straightforwardly and conjures a vivid picture of the author’s upbringing. I read this book because it was being billed online as a good insight into a part of America that had been out of sight and out of mind. I don’t think this wholly explains why the ‘16 election swung the way it did but nevertheless a worthwhile read.
Tidbits I took away from this book were:
- Be wary of the perils of living in an area that has one large main employer.
- If an area suddenly has no jobs, the bottom of the housing market can fall out and only the relatively rich can afford to bite the cost and move away.
- The author notes that the most stable/happy members of his family were those that married other halves from happier/stabler backgrounds.
- Adverse childhood experiences can rear their ugly head in adulthood.
- Addiction is the worst.
- Its very hard to resist a community’s weariness and resignation about class immobility.