A few reasons why "Hillbilly Elegy" (2016) by JD Vance would not have normally gotten into my reading queue:
* It's a memoir, a genre I've avoided lately. It's also the #1 bestseller on the NY Times non-fiction list, a distinction that often awakens my latent snobbishness.
* The author is a contributor to "National Review".
* The world of "hillbillies" usually does not entice me.
Finishing Vance's moving tale of a "... family and culture in crisis ...", I was again reminded how reading can be an antidote to narrow mindedness, especially my own. Although I didn't agree with some of the author's conclusions, and I don't share his faith in the role the church plays in helping rescue people from "learned helplessness", the book is a worthwhile and engaging read. Vance makes very clear he is telling his story, not presenting a research paper or sociological tract. And his story is a powerful one. He's careful to say there are "... no villains ...", while coupling that forgiveness with rich insights about himself. "Even at my best, I'm a delayed explosion - I can be defused but only with skill and precision."
I lost count how many times my parents crossed my mind as I read this book. I will never be able to adequately express how grateful I am for the stability they provided me. I'm very curious to hear what this memoir elicits in you.