Hillbilly Elegy is unlike anything I've ever listened to. J.D. Vance grew up in the rust belt of America and was the first from his nuclear family to graduate from college. He speaks about growing up there and tells you extensively about the journey his family (grandparents and mother) made before today.
In this work of non-fiction, Matthew Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, takes us to Milwaukee where we become intimately engaged in the lives of eight impoverished families. Among these families are both renters and landlords, both points of view are represented. I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction, but this book reads like a novel, while also providing significant background information regarding the laws around food stamps, eviction processes, and the inaccessibility of resources for some of our cities’ most impoverished residents.
Set in Grace County, North Carolina in 1960, Necessary Lies parallels the lives of Jane Forrester and Ivy Hart. At first glance, fifteen-year-old tobacco-farm worker Ivy appears to live in a completely different world than Jane, a newlywed married to a doctor, but both struggle for control over their lives. Ivy is the glue that holds her family together since her father died.
It’s a tale as old as time: teens going to parties far beyond their years. For this Johnson County reader, the interest in Jason Reynold's When I Was the Greatest lies in the microclimate of Bed-Stuy in New York City.
Despite her best efforts, I love Mattie Wallace. She often behaves badly, and she knows it. But it’s who she believes she is, so she behaves badly.
At sixteen, Letty Espinosa has everything going for her – she’s young, pretty and smart with a handsome boyfriend who loves her. Only the sky is the limit. When she discovers she is pregnant, all her hopes and dreams are suddenly dashed. Now a 33-year old single mother of two, working several menial jobs to bring in money for her family, she has been living somewhat irresponsibly while her mother has been raising her two children.
In the days before Hurricane Katrina is to hit Bois Savage, Mississippi, families are preparing their homes for the event as they’ve always done. Young Esch and her brothers have been left to their own devices since their mother’s death as their father is usually too drunk to care for them. One brother struggles to win a coveted scholarship to basketball camp, one dotes on his Pit Bull who has just birthed a liter of valuable puppies, Esch reaches a startling and unwelcome epiphany, and the youngest just gets in everyone’s way.
Chris Gardner and his toddler son spent a year living on the streets of San Francisco, in and out of shelters and run down hotels. All while working in the financial district to get a job that would provide them with enough to live on.
Ultimately, Chris becomes the Chief Executive of Gardner Rich & Company, a multimillion-dollar brokerage. Today, Chris is an avid philanthropist and motivational speaker.
Laurel’s life is going according to plan. She has come a long way from her trailer- trash beginnings in the hills of Alabama. Happily married with an adored 12-year-old daughter, she lives in a “perfect” gated Florida community. She hasn’t seen her uncle’s ghost since leaving Alabama and she has managed to shield her husband and daughter from a past she longs to forget. But her world begins to fall apart when she finds her daughter’s
This memoir, that reads like a novel and should appeal to anyone who enjoys family drama, defies convention when it comes to predictability. Jeannette Walls grew up in a family of nomads. She and her three siblings were born in the west to a couple who were brilliant but ungrounded, to say the least. Her father, Rex, had the makings of a scientist but alcoholism and wanderlust kept him from settling in a job too long.