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 more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness.Smarsh was born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up as the daughter of a dissatisfied young mother and raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into ...
|Title||:||Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth|
|Number of Pages||:||290 pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth Reviews
Follow my reviews on Book Nation by Jen. https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com
It is possible that I have overdosed on stories about indigence and the cultural divide, so for me, Sarah Smarsh’s message was strong yet her story felt repetitive. Smarsh tells us about her family and how their extreme poverty lead to generations of teenaged pregnancies, drinking, abuse, lack of education, bad or absent parenting, and all the while her family worked hard to live. We learn everything through the author ...more
I received a free Kindle copy of Heartland by Sarah Smarsh courtesy of Net Galley and Scribner, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.
I requested this book as I work in a nonprofit and the subject of the book deals with poverty which is important in the work that I do. This is the first book by Sarah Sma ...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 Ms. 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 o ...more
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
This is an inspiring memoir that not only reveals the multi-generational familial story of the author's life, but also delves into the greater societal issues of the working poor. Sara Smarsh confronts, in hindsight and from personal experience, the economic woes of farming and minimum wage work in the changing national narrative of business, profits, and class inequality in the Kansas heartland. Economic policy changes as in the Homestead Act, the more progressive Kansas politics, the 1980 farm ...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
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 would have enjoyed this book much more if it was linear.
The book made me appreciate how lucky I was growing up in my blue collar family.
We were poor. A family of five living in an eighteen-foot-long trailer in a trailer park.
The trailer didn't even have a bathroom. We had an icebox that needed blocks of ice.
My folks didn't do drugs, drink, or even smoke cigarettes like many of the characters in this book.
Dad worked hard but we lived paycheck to paycheck.
My parents valued education even though ...more