• Rachel Penate


Updated: Apr 10, 2020


★★★★ / 5 (Standard)

★★★.5 / 5 (Mama Scale)


Fascinating and educational memoir about growing up in a self-proclaimed "hillbilly family" and the lessons learned after leaving.


I seem to be on the “memoirs about overcoming poverty” train over here. From “Maid” to “Educated” to this beauty right here, I’ve learned a lot. Poverty doesn’t discriminate and neither does self-motivated success.

While these three books didn’t enlighten me as much as actually living within the poverty myself, they did give me a much better world view of cyclical poverty in America. In the case of "Hillbilly Elegy," I learned about a community I’d come to know going to school in rural Ohio.

Of the three books cited, I appreciated Vance's telling of his story the best. He doesn't just narrate his difficulties, but he analyzes what he sees to be the problem and offers suggestions for correction - for improving cultural experiences and getting past the cyclical "fight or flight" mentality that leads to so much discord in his community.

Overall, really grateful for J.D. Vance’s honest narrative. It’s stories like these that truly dawn light on the good and the bad of different communities. And give me pause to consider how I’m living my own life.


Yes, if you enjoy memoirs about success despite class divides and complicated families.

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