Hillbilly Elegy

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During the election cycle, I saw this author various times on MSNBC. Yes, he was promoting his novel released last summer but he was also making an attempt (as he did in the book) to explain how, exactly, the Rust Belt thought and felt in relation to the election and Trump and Clinton.

After the election, I was desperately looking everywhere for answers! I wanted someone to tell me HOW this could have happened! How a narcissistic, egomaniac, bully, with NO experience in public service or governing could possibly be elected to the highest job in our country. How a man who was so thin-skinned, wouldn’t stay off Twitter like a child, lashed out at everyone, could even consider representing this country. Suffice it to say, I still have no answers.

But I thought perhaps this memoir might help. It wasn’t a bad book. But it wasn’t a great book either. Vance did say toward the end of the book that he felt Government and policies were not the answer. I’m not sure I entirely agree with that. Welfare, food stamps, health care……….these are all provided to the people in this rural area he talks about. These people wouldn’t be able to exist without a little boost. A little help with the basics of life. But with this said, I got the feeling that they resent the very help that is given to them. I also understand they’re angry. About jobs and everything in between. But why, oh why, would they vote for a man who has already proved with the Cabinet he’s installing, he certainly is not going to make their life better. And he just might make it worse.

So I really got no answers as to “why.”  The story was mostly about his own childhood, relatives, poverty, pulling himself up and out of there to pursue an education and different lifestyle. But his story is like many others, so there was nothing there for me to learn. He also struck me as a young man (age 32) who is still floundering as to his own place in society. 

So unfortunately, I did not get out of the book what I had hoped for. Maybe there truly are no answers. One thing he did mention though was role models. And I completely agree with that. I feel bad for our children today. Both the ones in very rich families and the ones living on the poverty level. Who are their role models? Hopefully, they have family members. (Which the author said he did) But there are way too few public role models anymore. I grew up with wonderful role models. Both family and public.

My final review of the book is that unfortunately, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t know before I read it. I didn’t get any concrete answers as to why the Rust Belt voted the way they did. But one thing I did realize……….maybe I was grasping for something, anything, that might make sense of what should be a normal election into a very surreal and uncertain experience.  What are your thoughts?

9 thoughts on “Hillbilly Elegy

  1. I agree with many things you say about Donald Trump. However, as the election has shown, the people would rather have Trump leading our country instead of a thief, liar, cheat and murderer.

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    • Actually, no, the election did not say that. Yes, he won the electoral vote. Period. He did NOT get more votes from the American people. So let’s just get this straight. And please, oh PLEASE, if you’re going to comment…your OWN feelings/thoughts are one thing. What you said has NOT been proved, so I will not tolerate info being passed off as evidence or proven news on here.

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    • I cannot believe people don’t understand that Trump is the real thief, liar, and cheat! When a person declares bankruptcy not once, not twice, not three, but four times, how can anyone say he is not stealing from people who, in good faith, provided goods, services, and money to him, that they will now never be able to collect? As for lying, he is on tape multiple times saying something but then he baldly denies that he said it! If he’s so concerned about providing jobs to Americans, how come he had his own name-brand products manufactured overseas? There are tailors and seamstresses in America who are perfectly capable of creating wonderful shirts and ties.

      Once again, I am flabbergasted by the lack of critical thinking in our country.

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  2. This in not the first time a president did not win on the popular vote. Al Gore had the same experience as Hillary Clinton. I have been on the fence about Mr Trump. His demeanor is sometimes infuriating and his use of twitter annoying. I think he won because his message resonated with a large segment of the population outside of the Democratic Party votes in the California , NY precincts. Hillary’s campaign staff was not seeing the underground swell building in Trumps favor. I recall reading somewhere that Bill Clinton had urged Hillary to spend more time in the mid- west . Does Hillary have issues regarding her foundation , is Mr Trump a tyrant , I guess we will find out soon enough. Our country is in a state of change of unpresedented proportions. We must as citizens and voters be informed and ready to effect change to save our country. I sincerely hope Mr Trump will put us on the road to a better America……I hope the he is blessed with success. If he fails we are in a country where we can effect a change in the next election.
    As you have said in the introduction to this blog, it is important to be engaged and active in our political process.

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    • I’m very interested as to what your definition of “success” is in relation to his Presidency.
      Based on WHO he is surrounding himself with as a Cabinet, frankly, I fail to see that any success is possible.
      The dismantlement of Medicare and Medicaid? Privitizing Social Security? Environment? Women’s rights? Protecting gays, blacks or Muslims?
      I just do not see one ounce of success coming to this country. But maybe you can shed some light.

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  3. Terri you know I usually go straight to $$$$$$ when you recommend a book…..but I didn’t this time…..just felt it wasn’t right for me. After reading your “book report” I am glad I didn’t. OT…you know where I work and live right….well, yesterday a woman came in and said she needed a pair of slacks for cold weather as she was going up North…..so after getting her a great item I asked her where she was going….DC for Women’s March…..I started clapping, laughing and basically showing her how thrilled I was for her. We talked and laughed for a good 10 minutes with our faces down low on the wrapping desk…….this is Trump town…..and I need my job. Anyway she promised to come and tell me all about it. I told her ….proudly I might add….that my “friend” made Pussy hats for it. OK, won’t talk about politics here but wanted to share with you. Hope I didn’t break one of the rules.

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    • What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing! Loved it and really look forward to an update when you see her again. By the way….there are no rules here. Except for people not to be nasty and not to spew fake news/information. And my post did have a political slant to it because of the info in the book. Yeah, I’m afraid this one was a bit disappointing, because I was hoping for much more.

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