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Hillbilly Elegy

traicionada posted 7/31/2020 23:21 PM

As an outsider, Hillbilly Elegy is an insightful book. I studied the “Writing to Heal” technique in undergraduate school but I had to see for myself while training at the county hospital what incredible courage it takes to handle the baggage of a tumultuous upbringing. For trauma informed care providers, JD is living proof that when children find people who support them, when they feel cared for and befriended, their bodies and brains have a better shot at healing. For some readers, he is just oversimplifying an extremely complex social issue and in the process placing too much emphasis on learned helplessness. I would love to hear feedback from insiders

18yrs2kids posted 8/10/2020 12:27 PM

here's my review: With all the attention this book has garnered, I expected to be amazed, astounded, and enlightened; I was wanting a definitive history of the Appalachians, or an explanation of how Trump happened, or a guide to how to get America back on track. I think it's mis-billed as "analysis of a culture," and as such would require more research and data. If Vance were a famous (or even infamous) politician, I'd probably give this another star or two; but as it is I feel I got a nice guy's life story, and a little bit of information, and I was mildly interested throughout. I feel for Vance and his people and what they've been through and I very much respect the way he's pulled himself up by the bootstraps, but think it's disingenuous the way he dances all around the issue of racism. Does he still believe in creationism? Is he still a fan of David Limbaugh's writing? Did Amy Chua tell all her proteges to publish memoirs?

million pieces posted 8/12/2020 16:41 PM

My dad is from this background, but a generation before. There was not substance abuse in his family, but the poverty sure was there. I too thought it was an interesting look at how one person survived some pretty horrible stuff, but it is just his journey, not everyones. I had a friend who did have the almost same experience, escaped via the Marines, 30 years ago. He said he was pretty haunted by the book because of some of the similarities. Now my "friend" is pretty messed up, like pathologic, so I'm not really sure he is a success case, but on paper it reads the same.

Anyway, my dad did NOT like the book, felt like the author wasn't very supportive of those less strong than he was, but the author is still young and may have some more empathy as he ages.

traicionada posted 8/15/2020 11:51 AM

Most definitely, this book is a personal account, it doesn’t appear like any research was done beyond the author’s personal experience which brings up the point why isn’t there more data on this fascinating subject

it's disingenuous the way he dances all around the issue of racism

Interesting point 🤔 I never quite understood ethnocentrism in practice until I visited the middle of nowhere Ohio in 2006 My ex BIL told the stories of “backwoods white America” but I honestly thought he was exaggerating. Unfortunately, he wasn’t; I lost count of how many times, his extended family and neighbors assumed we didn’t speak English or asked “what are you?” People! We’re people! Initially, we tried explaining because we do love to talk about being Peruvian but after several comments like “like some kind of black” or “some other Mexican” we revised our answer to “not from here”

my dad did NOT like the book, felt like the author wasn't very supportive of those less strong than he was

Your dad isn’t alone. I am working on a Trauma Informed Care project at work and the literature thus far supports the view that familiarity breeds contempt, especially among groups with high adverse childhood experiences

Pippin posted 9/22/2020 09:09 AM

I had such high hopes for the book that I am not sure whether my disappointment in it was because of the gap between my hopes and the actual book or if it was really a crap book on its own merit outside of my hopes for it. It was not a memoir of a person born into circumstances who then could look back on them with a different eye because he was trying to explain other people, not himself. Nor a journalistic account of what is happening here because he didn't take the detached eye of a (good) journalist. Nor a sociological account along the lines of the FANTASTIC Paying for the Party by Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton. He did not give an account of why people who vote and politically align in a way that appears to be contrary to their economic self-interest do those things *in a way that they would agree with and recognize.* That last bit is key. I wish I could find something that does that. I was hoping this book would be that and it missed the mark by a long shot.

The1stWife posted 11/20/2020 20:43 PM

I liked it. I thought the story was real and challenging.

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