The Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of the month. Next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 21st  at 7:00 pm. The book is Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance. Contact Joan Friendship-Gray for more information; send email or call (519) 822-8983.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

The Vance family story began with hope 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 one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his 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.


Selections for 2021-22


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman (Sept 21)
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah (Oct 19)
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield (Nov 16)
Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance (Dec 21)
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens (Jan 18)
Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlin (Feb 15)
The Lake House, by Kate Morton (March 15)
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, by Nadia Hashimi (April 19)
The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben (May 17)