Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hillbilly Elegy

I just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance. Quite the interesting story. The story is of his dysfunctional hillbilly family with roots in eastern Kentucky and his growing up in southern Ohio. Dad was no where to be found, mom was a bat-shit crazy woman with addiction problems, so he ended up living with his grandparents much of the time. Of course, this was the same grandma that had once set grandpa on fire by dousing him with gasoline. How he managed to escape the poverty and lunacy of the situation is what the book is all about and the story goes a long way towards explaining how these things come about and are perpetuated generation after generation. He also does a good job of explaining the failure of schools in these areas. In fact, his explanation is probably the best I've seen as far as explaining the relationship between poor communities and lousy educational outcomes.  Remember the words Social Capitol.

There is a TED talk here that compresses the things in the book into a 15 minute synopsis. I would suggest you read the book, but if you can't find the time, at least check out his TED talk.  

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