thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy, since you'd asked. 3 stars out of 5--mainly because of the first half. He's going to be on campus next week so I might attend.
Most troublingly are Vance's ideas for improving conditions for Appalachians. He invokes his own personal success as evidence that a similar path is possible for anyone who simply wants it and is disciplined enough. If only it were as simple as Vance might have readers believe. . .
Ultimately, Vance's nuanced understanding of his own familial dynamics does not seem to extend to his analysis of social circumstances affecting Appalachia more broadly. Vance dismisses struggling individuals as lazy, "welfare queens," addicts, abusers, and more--perpetuating stereotypes about the region without offering a tangible remedy, or even much compassion. His success is something to be applauded, but his "pull yourself up your bootstraps" mentality strikes me as irresponsible, unhelpful rhetoric[/font]
Yep, and I'm thinking that is just a "part" of who he is. Because he took that part of himself to elevate himself up and out of those circumstances he truly believes that can be accomplished by all. But if and only if other people have those same character traits and beliefs.
The Art of Memoir-Mary Karr (reading it to help me focus on thesis stuff. most of it's fairly rudimentary, but it's engagingly written)
Gold Fame Citrus-Claire Vaye Watkins. I've already been sucked into the novel's world. 60 pages in and devouring it.
I love Mary. She is such a colorful person and what you see is what you get with her. She's unapologetic and smart and I love that in a writer. I hear truth when I read her. Art of Memoir is on my dresser as well.
O'Conner sounds like someone I would love to read. Thanks stripes42. Have you read anything by Harry Crews yet? His A Childhood begins as such.."My first memory is of a time ten years before I was born, and the memory takes place where I have never been and involves my daddy whom I never knew." I have yet to begin the book but it is sitting on my dresser and is next on my list.
And oh Kat Hillbilly is on my list of Memoir . I'm so interested to hear what you think. I think Vance is a remarkable person. I believe he grew up in the Appalachians and he ended up in either Princeton or Yale. Can't quite remember.
As of now I'm reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. He wrote it as fiction but I can't help but think just how much truth is woven throughout.