Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

About the Book

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

About the Book

The story begins on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when ten-year-old Handful is abruptly pulled from the Grimké’s work yard, adorned in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah tries in vain to decline, but over time, the two create a bond that will ultimately and dramatically shape their destinies.

As their intertwined stories unfold in their own voices, Sarah will eventually break from the only life she knows and go north to become an exile, encountering love and heartbreak, repression and renaissance as she searches for her voice and her place of belonging. Back home, Handful will experience her mother’s mysterious disappearance, finding strength and answers in the story quilt she leaves behind. When Denmark Vesey, a free black man with messianic charisma, plots a dangerous slave insurrection in the heart of Charleston, Handful becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that threatens to shake the city to its foundations.

2017 Schedule

February 16, 2017
at Lisa’s Home
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Questions by Jen F.

March 16, 2017
Pot Luck at Susie’s Home
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Questions by Allison

April 27, 2017 (*after Spring Break)
at Michele’s Home
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Questions by Susie

May 18, 2017
at Amy’s Home
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
Questions by Michele

June 15, 2017
at Allison’s Home
Fishbowl: A Novel by Bradley Somer
Questions by Amy

July 20, 2017
at Susie’s Home
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Questions by Lisa

August 17, 2017
at Julie’s Home
The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert
Questions by Jen O.

September 21, 2017
at Jen F.’s Home
Hissing Cousins by Mark Petser
Questions by Heather

October 19, 2017
at Julia’s Home
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window & Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Questions by Julie

November 16, 2017
at Jen O.’s Home
Ordinary Grace by William Hunt Krueger
Questions by Julia

December TBA
Christmas Party at Heather’s Home

January 18, 2018
Book Selection at Allison’s Home