New Go Big Read looks to prompt discussion on psychological impact of life in poverty

Author J.D. Vance's own experiences growing up in poverty lend to implications behind book

· May 4, 2017 Tweet

Courtesy of University Communications

The University of Wisconsin announced Tuesday New York Times bestselling book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” will be the 2017-18 Go Big Read, in an effort to prompt discussion of poverty and its psychological impact across campus.

Author J.D Vance said in a UW statement the book is his account of growing up in a region and class experiencing “serious economic disruption.” After World War II, Vance’s family moved from Appalachia to Ohio in an attempt to escape poverty, but found that difficult.

“I want people to know what it feels like to nearly give up on yourself and why you might do it,” Vance said. “I want people to understand what happens in the lives of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children.”

UW institute might have the answer to childhood povertyWith nearly 15 percent of children in the U.S. suffering from childhood poverty, a group of nine professors, including University of Read…

“Hillbill Elegy” is the ninth book in the Office of the Chancellor’s Go Big Read program, which has been working to prompt thoughtful campus discussions since its introduction in 2009. The book will also be made into a movie directed by Ron Howard.

The book looks to prompt similar discussions to last year’s Go Big Read book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by UW alum Matthew Desmond. The book, which won Desmond a Pultizer Prize in early April, also discussed the impact of poverty on American families, particularly in communities of color.

Locked up and locked out: Milwaukee struggles with incarceration, evictionAs images of Milwaukee riots made the national newscasts, so did one often-cited statistic: Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is Read…

Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in the statement UW looks to make people think about economic and political issues with Vance’s book.

“The point is to generate a lively conversation about a set of important issues, about which people can agree or disagree,” Blank said.


This article was published May 4, 2017 at 6:00 am and last updated May 3, 2017 at 11:08 pm


UW-Madison's Premier Independent Student Newspaper

All Content © The Badger Herald, 1995 - 2024