Day 15: Hillbilly Elegy, a Book Review

I heard about Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance over and over in the past year. Since I saw it listed on the recommended reading lists of people of faith, I decided it must be a religiously slanted book and put it further down my to-be-read list.

Oh my goodness, but I couldn’t have been more mistaken. I obviously wasn’t paying attention to the reviews. Then when I noticed one of the local libraries had it as a choice for their monthly book club, I decided to order a copy. Although, sadly, I did not make it to the book club meeting due to family obligations, I did read it.

It opened my eyes to the real lives of modern-day hillbillies as told through J. D. Vance’s personal narrative. Funny, heartbreaking, interesting and revealing, his life story weaves in with his grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. You won’t want to put it down: from his mother’s rocky relationships with men and her drug abuse, to his beautiful sister rising above her circumstances and growing up to live a healthy, happy life, to J.D.’s own story of his early years growing up in poverty, ignorance and disfunction to becoming a successful Yale Law School graduate.

Be prepared for plenty of swearing, because I wasn’t. Like I said, I was under the misapprehension that it was a religious book. Ha ha! But there is a reason it has nearly 10,000 positive reviews on And it’s up to you to read it for yourself and find out why.

Let me know what you think and what you’re reading lately!