Sometimes reality is more interesting than fiction, as shown in the newly released film Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Based on the 2016 memoir by author J.D. Vance, the story chronicles Vance’s coming of age in Middletown, Ohio, struggling against abuse, poverty and a drug addicted mother.
We’ve seen the same conflict in stories before – a main character against society—but never in this setting. At every turn Vance is failed by the very government institutions that are supposed to be
safeguards, from education and healthcare to Child Protective Services. Though coarse, the hillbilly culture to which Vance belongs is what he and his community can depend on, stepping up for one another, like in how they honor their dead.