Friday, April 28, 2017

Dear Great Book Guru,  I was at the Friends of the Library gala “Fun-Raiser” last night-  and what fun it was!  A group of revelers was discussing a number of books including “Dog Whistle Politics, ” “White Trash,” “ The New Jim Crow Politics,” plus another title I can’t remember. I plan on reading all of them so can you help me with that last one?  A Fervent Fan of the Friends of the Library

Dear Fervent Fan of…  The Friends of the Library is a favorite of mine too and –yes- I have read the book you are interested in HILLBILLY ELEGY by J.D. Vance.  This is a bestselling memoir of a childhood spent in Ohio and Kentucky, the author’s years as a U.S. Marine, and finally his success as a Yale  Law School graduate. He writes of his upbringing in a household where violence and multiple addictions were counterbalanced by fierce family loyalties and an  intense love of country.  He writes of the many- as he sees them- bad decisions made by his family, while still maintaining a strong affection for them. The roles of government, racism, and culture in his family’s misfortunes are analyzed in detail interspersed with at times terrifying incidents from his boyhood. In the end, Vance denounces a culture of “helplessness” that he sees as integral to his family and community’s malaise, while underplaying the role of economics and  punitive government policy.  An interesting read but recommended with some reservation...  

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