A perfect companion to Evicted and Nickel and Dimed, Heartland reveals one woman's experience of working-class poverty with a startlingly observed, eye-opening, and topical personal story.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 ...
|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
Heartland belongs on the shelf next to books like Desmond’s Evicted, Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, and Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed. Smarsh’s book provides a strong voice for and about breaking the destructive cycles of families, the economics of class, and the fact that birth should not be the reigning mark of future prospects. Smarsh is a talented writer who tells the story of her grandparents, parents, and extended family with clarity and warmth.
For the full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/0 ...more
I found the narrative interesting, but not compelling. I was especially put off by the device of setting the book as a story told to an unborn child. It felt artificial to me. I also bridled at the self-congratulatory nature of the conclusion. All in all, not as strong an expose as I expected.
I would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on this review that I am not a totally self centered being but I may have enjoyed the bits about home a little more than someone who didn't grow up in the area. I grew up within a few miles of her Grandparents' farm, we were almost as poor and even have some Smarsh relatives. Our Smarsh's used a car hood instead of a canoe but it's ...more
tl;dr: I was really excited about Heartland but a gimmick makes it fall flat.
I was giddy when I heard about Heartland--finally, a book had come along with the power of Nickled and Dimed!
Sadly, despite the glowing blurb from Barbara Ehrenreich, Heartland is not that powerful. Even for a memoir, it lacks impact
There is one thing Dr Smarsh does well in Heartland, and that's provide a nuanced look into the women of her immediate family. She's clear on their weaknesses and also very clearly proud of ...more
For those of you who loved My Name is Lucy Barton, or Nickled and Dimed, or Hillbilly Elegy, you will need to add this book to your TBR pile. Debut author Sarah Smarsh chronicles her life, and generations of her family, as they try and survive living and toiling in Kansas during the past century. The difference in this story for me was the fact that it is told from a female perspective, as well as focusing on the matriarchal struggles of generations of teenage motherhood, abusive marriages, and ...more
“Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in The Richest Country on Earth” is a resounding story by Sarah Smarsh of her family life, heritage and farming culture on the Kansas prairie. With the passage of the Homestead Act (1862) over 270 million acres of land was available for settlement on the American plains. Settlers could receive up to 160 acres of land at no cost if they lived and cultivated their land for a period of five years. Smarsh, raised on family farmland, wrote that her ...more
You might think that a book about growing up on a poor Kansas farm would qualify as ‘sociology,’ and Heartland certainly does … But this book is so much more than even the best sociology. It is poetry — of the wind and snow, the two-lane roads running through the wheat, the summer nights when work-drained families drink and dance under the prairie sky.
Barbara Ehrenreich, Author of Nickel and Dimed
Sarah Smarsh is one of America’s foremost writers on class. Heartland is about an impossible dream f ...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