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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.E. Vance 2.5 Stars ** It was an OK read but wasn't what I expected .

I wonder who chose the title on this Memoir, was it the Author or the Publisher ?


I have dithered and doddered over this book's rating for several days as I felt my low rating was out of sync with other readers but I just didn't seem to connect with this one and while I stuck with it I didn't really find it as engrossing as other readers. I picked this book for its title [book:Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis|27161156] and felt I was going to get a rare glance into Hillbilly Culture which I knew absolutely nothing about but came away from this book feeling slightly disappointed as upon reading numerous reviews I feel I didn't get as much from this book as other readers.

I fully appreciate the marvellous achievements that the author has accomplished to date and how he avoided the many pit falls of being brought up in a family where life is anything but normal and the chance of bettering yourself is difficult through no fault of your own but I felt there was something lacking in the story and I while it was an interesting read I came away from the book without gaining any real insight into "a culture in crisis" I did wonder how his family felt about his writing this memoir as I seem to remember reading in the book where his Memaw liked to keep family business private and he certainly has no issue airing the family's dirty laundry.

I wasn't brought up with a silver spoon in my mouth and all my siblings worked their butts off to achieve their successes but while poor we did have wonderful supportive parents who did everything to ensure we got the best eductaction possible and the older I get the more thankful I have become for their selflessness and forward thinking and after reading a book like this you realise how difficult some have it and how trapped they are in their environments.

There were of course several parts of the story that shocked me and I now believe that guns are as normal in that part of America as umbrellas are in Ireland. It was interesting reading about the college process in America but I was amazed at the cost of a college education and how young people are lumbered with huge loans on leaving college and start out their working life with that burden. While college eduction is considered expensive in Ireland it is nowhere near the figures quoted in this book.

Anyhow while I enjoyed the read its not a book I will be passing on and yet I think there is much for discussion here and would probably make an excellent book club read for some book clubs.