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?