Pinterest tracking pixel
If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at accessibility@bookofthemonth.com or 1-833-959-2686.
Oops! The page didn’t load right. Please refresh and try again.
All booksMemoirHillbilly Elegy
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Memoir

Hillbilly Elegy

by J.D. Vance

Quick take

Part memoir, part cultural analysis, an examination of white working-class America from Rust Belt native J.D. Vance.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Rural_update

    Rural

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

Synopsis

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported 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 one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his 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.

Read less

Member thoughts

All (7)
All (7)
Love (4)
Like (3)
Dislike (0)
7 ratings
  • 57% Love
  • 43% Like
  • 0% Dislike
  • Brandon, MS

  • Atlanta, GA

Memoir
  • Wild Game
  • Maid
  • All That You Leave Behind
  • Leaving the Witness
  • The Beauty in Breaking
  • The Girl Who Smiled Beads
  • Group
  • Small Fry
  • Aftershocks
  • Too Much Is Not Enough
  • Notes on a Silencing
  • Hunger
  • Kitchen Confidential