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NON-FICTION Book Group : "Hillbilly Elegy : A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis" by J. D. Vance
First Tuesday at 1PM
The group reads and discusses Hillbilly Eligy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance. Copies of the book are available to borrow with a Hampstead Public Library card.
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis--that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside.
J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
Copies of the book will be available to borrow from the Library. All readers are welcome to the discussion.
Upcoming Book Group Selections
Upcoming titles for our Third Thursday Book Group:
December 20 - Discussion of your favorite books and holiday party.
January 17, 2019 - Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
February 21, 2019 - The Language of Threads by Gail Tsukiyama
The Non-Fiction Book Group meets the first Tuesday of the month, at 1PM.
July and August, the group takes a break, to return in September.
January 8, 2019 - The Big Necessity : The Unmentionable World of Human Waste And Why It Matters by Rose George
February - Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey
March - Following Atticus by Tom Ryan