A friend in New Zealand who hosts the World's Best Book Club (it really is the world's best) recommended this book to me.
I write a blog for survivors of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. J.D. Vance shares remarkable wisdom and insight into why and how a few kids achieve the American Dream despite horrid childhood experiences of abuse, neglect, and poverty.
His insights aren't new. But, they are remarkably candid, direct, and credible. I've read hundreds of stories about people who survived, thrived, and found joy. But, this is the first book which reveals the common thread in the lives of people who have emerged successful: at every critical juncture in his life, he had someone who was enormously protective and helpful. He always knew he was loved unconditionally. It makes all the difference.
Alice Miller calls these people "enlightened witnesses." J.D. Vance uses the term "social network." They are people who tell kids like J.D. that they aren't responsible for their parent's failures. At the same time, these people teach a child how to have a different outcome in life. A child's ability to thrive and be successful in life turns directly on how many of these people are available to help the child navigate life. He might forever be a hillbilly at heart, but he's now also a polished and highly successful professional due to the guidance, protection, and unconditional love he's received along the way.
If this book interests you, you might also like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years by Sadie and Bessie Delany, Alice Miller's books, and It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton.