Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

The author was born and raised in Ohio but his family was from Kentucky.  He was a member of the poor, white, working class and he lived in the Appalachian culture.  This book is part biography and part analysis of the psychological and social factors affecting these people.  They have a lot of problems and he endeavors to explain why.  He describes his childhood, which was traumatic.  At one point he thought his mother was going to kill him.  But a stranger took him in and protested him until the police arrived.  He also tells about his grandmother, Mamaw, who was very important in his life.   Eventually he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and graduated from Ohio State University and Yale Law School.  He now works at an investment firm and lives in San Francisco with his wife and two dogs.  This is a book about "the forgotten people" who were brought to national attention in the last political campaign.  It is a gripping and informative book by an intelligent and perceptive person.

1. What is an "elegy"?

2. What was Mamaw famous for?

3. Why was she so important in J.D.'s life?

4. What did he learn in the Marines?

5. What did he learn at Yale?

6. How can we begin to heal the cultural divide that currently exists?

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