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Why This Book Matters:

Hillbilly Elegy highlights the troubles and eventual triumph of a man who pushed himself out of poverty-stricken Middletown, Ohio.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. J.D. Vance was raised in a part of America that was overwhelmed with poverty.
    1. If Being poor was not a new occurrence for Vance in his family, for it seemed like poverty was passed down as a family keepsake.
  2. Vance never had it easy, even from the beginning.
    1. Though Vance’s mother tried to put him on the right path early on by showing him the importance of education, J.D.’s hard life at home was a huge distraction.
  3. Vance moved place to place a teen, the only permanent thing in his life being his grandfather.
    1. Papaw invested in J.D.’s future, which made his death that much harder on Vance.
  4. After Vance’s mother was admitted to psychiatric care, J.D.’s grandmother helped put J.D.’s life on the right path.
    1. A stable home was found at Mamaw’s, giving J.D. the example he needed to work in the military.
  5. The military gave Vance the confidence he needed to take charge of his civilian life.
    1. After the military, J.D. took the steps he needed to secure a professional future for himself.

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