Latest book review: Heartland by Sarah Smarsh

href=”” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”>Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on EarthHeartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I bought this book after having heard the author on Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” program. Her background and her family history sounded quite like my own, since my father, from Appalachia, faced many of the same struggles that Ms. Smarsh’s did as well. When my father came home from World War II to his home, there were no jobs, and he was a high school dropout. He had married my mother, also a high school dropout, who was from Boston, but she insisted they move north, where the jobs were available. I never understood why his other relatives didn’t leave, like he did. He prospered; they didn’t. That’s not to say they were not hard-working people, like the ones Ms. Smarsh describes as her own relatives in Kansas. In fact, they worked long, hard hours farming and seeking out whatever living they could.

With that background, I was excited to read this book. I admired Ms. Smarsh for writing it and for the descriptions she gave of her family members. Once again, however, I wondered why they wouldn’t leave and go where “the jobs

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