June 8, 2017

book: hillbilly elegy

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was reading this book, "Hillbilly elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis".

 Product Details

Well, Layla and Perry slept in this morning and instead of attacking that pile of papers I had every intention to go through, I chose to read all morning. I finished the book and I just wanted to write down a few things about it. Though, I know I am not very eloquent nor I do have much time right now to explain my thoughts clearly.

The book is filled with strong language and some parts are hard to read, but it is very real. It is one man's story. Like he says, his story really is not unique and he isn't claiming to be an expert or to speak for everyone. But that's why I appreciated this book. I do feel it was authentic. It gave a voice and a face to stories that I think so many of us are actually oblivious to (sometimes by choice and sometimes unintentionally).

I think it struck a chord with me so much because of my experience with foster care. I have heard stories similar to his from real people during my hours and hours of foster care training. Those stories were life-changing for me. And one of the reasons I feel the call to be a foster parent.

I guess it also just reminded me of all the experiences we had when we were foster parents in WA. I already know my perspective from those experiences so I appreciate reading this perspective from the "other side", if you will..

And then the whole time I read this particular book I kept thinking of someone in particular. Someone I have much love and concern for--the biological mom of two of our children. She was a child from this area of Appalachia. And while I don't know all the details of her childhood, I think this book gave me a little glimpse and a little bit of understanding about how her life maybe could be. I certainly don't know for sure. But I can imagine.

I had a lot of take-aways from this book. The power just one person or example can have on someone else. The need for constants in our life. The influence of culture. Choices do matter. The importance of both hope and taking the right actions. The importance and power of strong families and religion (the author does make a quick reference to mormons and Utah in relation to this. its just always nice to hear your religion mentioned in a positive way, you know?). As well as, forgiveness, love, and moving forward.

Overall, I did think it was a powerful and important read. And they are already making a movie out of it so there you go.