Back to books, after a hiatus! I think that Hillbilly Elegy has garnered the amount of attention it has by seeming to offer insight on the demographic that might elect (shudder) Trump as POTUS. I confess that I read the book with some anticipation of finding a fresh perspective on an Appalachian connection, seeing as how I’ve lived in this region for almost twenty odd (in all senses of the word) years now. I was disappointed. Vance serves up the the usual fare I’ve come to expect from Appallit-there’s drinking, drug addiction, and violence aplenty, down to the almost stereotypical gun-toting “Mamaw,” but in the end he offers no fresh perspective on the the people he writes almost cruelly about, unless it that’s there’s little hope to be found among them. I HAVE been reading Appalachian authors for awhile now, and they do tend to a grim, dark, and cheerless worldview. Hillbilly Elegy, though a memoir, certainly follows that same tradition. So, here’s my take: this is a matter of the fortuitous book: Vance published the right book at the right time. It’s not a BAD book, but it’s certainly not a GREAT one. You want to read really GREAT Appallit, try Ron Rash.