Heartland by Sarah Smarsh (5 out of 5)

This was in a bunch of galleys that Wendy sent me. I’m not sure if it was stuff I asked for, or that she thought I would enjoy. She’s onto me, so either is possible! It’s been awhile since I read a book that was part memoir, part sociology, and all heart. It was a hard book to read. Understand that I say that because it is no easy feat trying to write about the class divide in this country; it may be even harder to read about it. Smarsh is achingly honest about the subject matter. Sarah Smarsh grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, into a family of wheat farmers and laborers fighting for their survival every day. Sarah’s family moved more than 20 times in a decade. None of it was “moving up”, either. The family fought hard as he’ll, and still are barely making it. Her experiences firsthand growing up in Kansas, her reliving the time period of the botched experiment known as “Reaganomics”, the variety of jobs that she tagged along with to learn the meaning of hard work, and her observations at the toll the class divide in this country took not only on her family, make her a uniquely prescient authority. This is a book that will open up previously closed up thought channels, and it should! The struggle of her family to survive in the middle of America’s heartland, juxtaposed with Sarah’s own observations about the misbegotten notion that people making less are less, is a painful lesson to read about. Imagine how it was for the author knowing/seeing/living that. Unbelievable. Yet she did the next best thing- she wrote a heartrending treatise on the state of things. And it should be on every school’s required reading. And yours, as well.

The book is being released on September 18, 2018. The folks at Scribner (Simon & Schuster) are publishing this. I thank Wendy for sending it into me. Do yourself and your country a favor, and read it.

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~ by generationgbooks on June 27, 2018.

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