08 January, 2017

J.D. Vance has a great story but he's not a hillbilly | Lexington Herald-Leader

J.D. Vance has a great story but he's not a hillbilly | Lexington Herald-Leader:

But most of his life, and the majority of the story he tells, takes place back in Middletown just north of Cincinnati. Vance is no hillbilly.
On its own, Vance’s life story at 31 is interesting and at times heartbreaking. It deserves its own book. He lived through drug-addled parents, multiple stepfathers, an adoptive father who basically abandoned him, the Marines, and even a deployment to Iraq.
However, as a critique of hillbilly culture, Vance’s story falls flat because he isn’t one.
I write this review in an Appalachian hollow on the hillbilly highway 20 minutes from the largest city in Eastern Kentucky of only 20,000 people. I don’t consider myself a hillbilly, but I don’t consider it an insult either. I can see the struggles of the region every day.
I ordered Vance’s book in the hope that his story would be a frank look at the lives of the less fortunate people around me who face the struggles of the hillbilly culture and Appalachian economy daily. But Vance’s story is one about how his grandparents’ sacrifices made it possible for him to be where he is today.
That makes his critique of the hillbilly culture in crisis ring empty.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/opinion/op-ed/article96779312.html#storylink=cpy

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