An eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in the American Midwest.During Sarah Smarshs turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the countrys changing economic policies solidified her familys place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look mo...
|Title||:||Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth|
|Number of Pages||:||304 pages|
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth Reviews
Review to come on Book Nation by Jen. https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com
If you’re thinking of writing your memoir about class and poverty to your not-yet-born/never-to-be-born daughter ’August’ my advice is – don’t. It’s weird and unneccessarily distracting.
I had hoped to be keener on this one. Best feature for me were the stories of the grandmothers and mother.
What if Hillbilly Elegy went further and actually included discussion on social class and discrimination against poor and working class people, especially women? Heartland explores why even if some people do leave poverty, most don't, why the pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps narrative is not a response to the behemoth of class oppression and social disdain that working people face every day. Don't read Hillbilly Elegy to "understand middle America." Read Heartland if you want a more accurate ...more
Being a linear person, I found it hard to focus on thematic issues versus chronological time.This, however, was not a huge detraction from this earnest and engaging story of growing up in in heartbeat of Kansas, moving more than 20 times in her childhood, and descending rom a long list of teenage mothers. She clearly delineates how economic circumstances of the area helped shape the value that society ascribed to them. However, this was a story about love as well. How a family shaped by hardwork ...more
Real Rating: 2.5* of five
DNF @ 41%
Entirely because the book is written as though to the author's unborn—nay, unconceived—daughter. It's simply too cutesy-poopsie-woopsie a conceit for me. I love the style of the author's sentences, and I appreciate the depth and quality of her research. This topic...the immense and widening gap between Haves and Have Nots, the cultural forces behind the pernicious lie of class, the racism inherent in judging rural poor migrant workers as well as "native" white f ...more
This book is so timely for our moment that it is almost hard to believe that the author began working on it more than a decade ago. Beautifully told, this memoir chronicles one family's life and times in Kansas as wheat farmers, trying to find their own American dream in a world where their true options were very limited. Class is such a no-no for American discourse, but these kinds of stories remind us why this must change. I found I had difficulty connecting fully with this book, but this is d ...more
I like reading about lives that are very different from my own. Sarah Smarsh is a good writer, and it was interesting to learn her family history and her views on the world. But I really wish this book had been organized chronologically instead of thematically. She jumped around in time, which made it hard to keep track of her many relatives and what they were doing. And I’m not really sure what each chapter’s theme was supposed to be, since they were each so long and had multiple messages. Ther ...more