Year 14, Book 83

83. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh

Sarah Smarsh writes about her childhood growing up poor in rural Kansas. It has some interesting pieces, but overall I didn’t love it. The book is written as if it’s to her never born daughter. I didn’t really buy into that literary device that seemed mostly unnecessary. There was one poignant insight at the end that tied back to it, but I feel like that could have been shared without framing the entire book as it was. She also kept alluding to policies and larger societal issues that affected the way people in the rural heartland lived, but she never took it anywhere which kind of annoyed me. If she was going to keep bringing it up I wanted her to get into it. The book was also very confusing to follow as there were lots of family members included and she kept moving back and forth in time. It was one of those books that at the end of it I felt like I could have gotten the salient message from a New Yorker article rather than an entire book. I give it a 5 out of 10.

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