Hillbilly Elegy

Author J.D. Vance
Vote 6/10
Reviewed on 2019-06-09
Read in English

Not sure how many fans of South Park are among my readers. Heck, I don’t even know if I have any readers. But I digress.

I can’t remember why I was attracted to this book. I thought it was a novel, some powerful saga read by the millions. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it is instead the autobiography of a guy younger than me. After going past the initial unsettling moment, I realized this was a book about growing up in a category of people of which I knew the existence but never spent time understanding. I mused about the fans of South Park because this is the category to which it seems to belong the little Kenny, one of the main characters of the show. This category is apparently called with various terms, among which hillbillies, rednecks, and white trash.

This book has the clear value of depicting a reality of which I wasn’t aware, but I’ve found the writing and the content not always compelling. There is a main idea about where the working class comes from and some of the historical reasons why they have the problems that they have, and I sure can slightly relate because I grew up in a place that shares a few of the characteristics of the hillbilly setting, but there is not much that can be made of that idea, and then it’s just the story of a guy growing in a tough environment and for much as I can sympathize with him and admire his grit and his success against all odds, the story was barely worth the effort.