I just read "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance on a flight and it really struck home with me. It's a memoir about a man who grew up in a Kentucky hillbilly white trash family transplanted to Middletown, OH and how he escaped from a life of poverty and despair. His mother was a drug-addicted "serial monogamist" who at one point seriously threatened to kill him. He ended up moving from home to home until he could live with his grandparents who consisted of his recovering alcoholic grandfather and his foul-mouthed violent grandmother. Surprisingly enough, his grandparents were the force that helped him develop the strength to escape into the Marines and then go on to Ohio State University and Yale Law School.
It really appealed to me because Vance does not sugarcoat things at all. He explains the sick and twisted thought processes of the impoverished and how they purposefully cause their own self-destruction through laziness, immorality, substance abuse, and neglect. This is exactly the kind of stuff I experienced in my own life until I got my shit together at the age of 29, moved somewhere with better economic prospects, and built my life into something respectable and successful. I think this book is a good companion piece to Linda Tirado's "Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America", which covers a lot of the same ground but comes up with different answers for the problems (i.e. liberal answers as compared to Vance's conservative answers.)
Anybody else read this and have any thoughts on it?