Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Sarah Smarsh
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Sep 1, 2023

Heartland; a book about a life of poverty in a country of opportunity. Heartland is a nonfiction memoir written by the author Sarah Smarsh. This book resonates with many, as it is set in western Kansas and is told from the perspective of a girl named Sarah Smarsh who is raised by generations of teen mothers. All Sarah wants is to escape the cycle of poverty and teen pregnancy through her education and determination. Sarah Smarsh discusses her challenges that come between her and her success throughout her memoir. Not only that but she highlights the stresses and difficulties in the lives of her family. This book is used as an opportunity to highlight the hidden American dream. The one that is often glamorized in the media, where everything is perfect, however this book uncovers the tough realities of America that are often thought to be nonexistent. 

I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars, because of the captivating plot. This book took adversity and at times made it feel warm, humbling, and devastating all at the same time. This book truly humbled me, and gave me insight into what over 30 million people in America experience everyday. The most compelling aspect was Smarsh’s storytelling. She truly knows how to turn nonfiction into a vivid image. One thing that I wish to critique is I wanted some more focus on Sarah Smarsh and more over her thoughts, but I did love hearing the stories of the women in her family. This is a must read for all teenagers who are curious to discover the hidden side of the American Dream.

Written by
Aneet K.

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