Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy
There are a lot of forgotten people in this country. I'm referring to the white working class. The presidential campaign has cast a spotlight on them but has done very little to increase our understanding of their circumstances. In Hillbilly Elegy, author J.D. Vance, offers a thoughtful and compassionate look into the challenges of working class Americans. Growing up poor in Appalachia, he witnessed the poverty, alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and failing schools that too often leaves people living in those communities with a sense of despair and hopelessness.
I too grew up in a poor working class neighborhood in California's Central Valley. Many of the families came to California from the Dust Bowl in search of work during the Depression. The same people that were the subject of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Good people trying to make he best out of a very bad situation. Vance's story is my story. I join him in asking: how can we help kids break out of the hopelessness created by these conditions? This is the question that both presidential candidates need to answer.