Tag Archives: Hillbilly Elegy

Get ‘er Done – means, method, motivation

May 31, 2017 @ Liz’s
(missing Mary; spewing ‘friendly invectives’ at Viviane for late cancel>>No Salad Crisis)

Chatter (Or w/all the good news, should this be Snaps?):

  • Karen S:  Christopher’s graduation & Montana trip!!! New grandbaby, Harvey!!! Bro married significant other of 16 years!!! Drop. The. Mic.
  • Sue’s Utah trip. Pictures for miles! Almost too much to absorb. AND she resolved the No Salad Crisis!
  • Karen C: passed all 4 CPA exams; hours done by end of June!!
  • Kitty’s wedding news!! June 10th!!  Getting ready:  a repeat of worked with Barry  (DC JP); uncomfy-yet-gorgeous shoes; vegan receptions require music…and alcohol
  • Liz’s Savannah Wedding Adventure – location, food stations (fried chicken, shrimp & grits), DJ (better than live), so much dancing!
  • New baby stuff – Bootleg gift to Karen S (The Story Book Knight + gift card); the new stuff is tricky but awesome…old car seat & stroller woes
    • holding babies (infants):  some of us love and some of us defer; point to ponder:  wet nurse as ‘career choice’ (long ago…not now, silly)
  • Our Wedding Stories – Marie’s drunk, sunburnt guests & JP @ Quaker Meeting House; Katie’s fainting & fab reception; Liz’s judge (Catholic/Jewish)>>Unitarian Church on Cedar Ln; Shelley’s Catalina Island & Ron’s white jeans w/Hawaiian shirt; Kitty (see above); anyone else?

Dinner Notes

  • paper towels in lieu of napkins:  grocery store faux pas or themed décor?
  • Mountain Dew as center piece (nice one, Marie)Hillbilly Elegy

The Book:  Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Shelley picked this book because:

  1. At the April meeting Marie mentioned a book and Vivian said something like, “I’m foreign & I know only a certain type of American.” This book presented something very un-20895. (If only Viv had been here…)
  2. Shelley’s mom’s husband started out a hillbilly and rose to mega success. The potential parallel was of interest.

Comments:

  • Some of us had childhoods with some similarities or had parents who lived this kind of life (albeit not in the same location) – so for some, this book was off-putting and for others it was intriguing/familiar; for others it was just alien
  • thought-provoking
  • sounds like Pat Conroy:  sharing ‘his people’ and some similar milestones of personal development
  • not stark, not lyrical; more family memoir than dense non-fiction sociological treatise = overall style engaging (or at least easy) to read
  • the family had $100,000/year and still lived in disarray and squalor? It’s expensive to clean up civil & social fallout of addicts
  • Vance’s point seems to be you can bootstrap and somewhere along the line it works thanks to important moments with key people (math at the table, books in the house, another place to stay)
  • socio-economic status is major (less so than culture) & access to/use of education
  • military = a saving grace
  • surveys:  totally bunk? usually the questions are so poorly structured, so YES
  • some contentious exchanges on purpose or perceived tone of book – it seemed to boil down to how much anyone thought Vance was trying to push his personal experience and/or philosophy as a solution (as opposed to relaying his story). And if we liked/understood/abhorred what seemed to be his suggested solution options.
  • enabling vs. enriching = the ultimate tricky balance when trying to help somebody (both personal and social program-wise)
  • Is housing aid working? What about if public funds go to helping people move to where jobs are? Would they go?
  • reminded some of us of The Glass Castle – (theme of using whatever you can to get ‘there’)…but not nearly so literary
  • Marie shared Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire and Resilience Questionnaire. Some did not see themselves at all. Others saw self or parent with very high scores on both.
  • agreement:  the solution is closer to home than within top-heavy government; more community, less impersonal policy

Next Meeting:  Mary’s house; Tuesday, June 27th at 7:15

Liz’s Pick:  A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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