Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

An eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in the American Midwest. During Sarah Smarsh?s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country?s changing economic policies solidified her family?s place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to lo An eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in the American Midwest. During Sarah Smarsh?s turbulent ch...

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Title:Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Author:Sarah Smarsh
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:290 pages pages

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth Reviews

  • Clif Hostetler
    Sep 24, 2018
    This is a very well written memoir that not only recounts memories of growing up in Kansas (30 miles west of Wichita), but ponders the plight of working class poor with a deeply humane sensitivity that offers clarifying insight into social conditions of the heartland. In addition to th...
  • Barbara
    Jan 10, 2019
    This memoir tells a story that is seldom heard - a story of the lives of poor people in America who are white. Sarah Smarsh grew up on a farm in rural Kansas, moving between there and Wichita throughout her childhood. Her mother and grandmother had both become mothers at age 16. Sarah ...
  • Stephanie
    Jul 21, 2018
    Many years ago, I read Barbara Ehrenreich?s Nickel and Dimed and it knocked my socks off. When I saw Sarah Smarsh?s Heartland had been favorably compared to it and recommended to people who liked it, I jumped at the opportunity (provided by Scribner and NetGalley) to read it in exc...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    Oct 16, 2018
    From the NBA shortlist for non-fiction comes this memoir about growing up poor in a ?flyover? state. While I can agree with a lot of what she says about growing up in a rural setting, I sometimes felt she over-dramatized some of it. That in addition to the weird way of talking to h...
  • Lindsey
    Sep 24, 2018
    From the moment I head about this book I knew I had to read it, because I knew in a sense it would be a book about me and my people. Other than Julene Bair's One Degree West, there aren't many books about what it is like growing up in rural Kansas, "flyover country." At one point Sa...
  • Cow
    Nov 08, 2018
    I had such high hopes, given the reviews I'd read and the accolades this book is getting. But...wow, no. First, it's written as a letter to her non-existent child, which is a completely unearned gimmick that takes what seems like a serious memoir and turns it into being too cute by ...
  • Alison
    Oct 02, 2018
    In a sense it's a shame that this book is being marketed as a window into understanding the white working class. Lumping this title in with crappy, moralistic screeds (I'm thinking mainly here of Hillbilly Elegy) in order to sell more books doesn't do Smarsh's work justice. It's a beau...
  • Teri
    Jan 19, 2019
    Sarah Smarsh grew up in the 1980s and 1990s in rural Kansas, just outside of Witchita. Her family life was pretty typical of poor rural midwestern families who lived day to day, surviving off of what work they could find and hope that each year's crops would get them through another ye...
  • Marian
    Aug 15, 2018
    I had hoped to be keener on this one. Best feature for me were the stories of the grandmothers and mother. ...
  • Scribe Publications
    Jun 25, 2018
    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 sum...
  • Richard Derus
    Oct 23, 2018
    Real Rating: 2.5* of five DNF @ 41% Entirely because the book is written as though to the author's unborn?nay, unconceived?daughter. It's simply too cutesy-poopsie-woopsie a conceit for me. I love the style of the author's sentences, and I appreciate the depth and quality of ...
  • Brad
    Aug 04, 2018
    As a lifelong Kansan who came from a working class family in Topeka but knew nothing of the life of the rural parts of my state, I declare this essential reading. Essential not just for Kansans like me, but for so many who have no idea what rural poverty looks like. Sarah Smarsh re...
  • M
    Oct 04, 2018
    I read this book with much anticipation after hearing the author interviewed on the New York Times Book Review Podcast. The small town upbringing, the succeeding despite difficult challenges, being the first of your clan to earn a college degree, etc., rang true with me. But I was disa...
  • Brandi
    Jun 03, 2018
    I like reading about lives that are very different from my own. Sarah Smarsh is a good writer, and it was interesting to learn her family history and her views on the world. But I really wish this book had been organized chronologically instead of thematically. She jumped around in tim...
  • Rebecca
    Nov 10, 2018
    (3.5) If you were a fan of Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, then Heartland deserves to be on your radar too. Smarsh comes from five generations of Kansas wheat farmers and worked hard to step outside of the vicious cycle that held back the women on her mother?s side of the family: pove...
  • Paul
    Aug 18, 2018
    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 shou...
  • Jennifer Blankfein
    Dec 08, 2018
    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 ...
  • Casey Wheeler
    Aug 26, 2018
    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 Facebo...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    Aug 02, 2018
    Heartland is a great read. I enjoyed Smarsh's family history immensely. However, I'm not buying her assertion that she grew up in poverty. I suppose my definition of poverty differs from hers. She always had a roof over her head and food to eat. Smarsh never had to live in a car or und...
  • Laurie's Lit Picks
    Aug 26, 2018
    For those of you who loved My Name is Lucy Barton, or Nickled and Dimed, or Hillbilly Elegy, you will need to add this book to your TBR pile. Debut author Sarah Smarsh chronicles her life, and generations of her family, as they try and survive living and toiling in Kansas during the pa...
  • Suzanne
    Sep 17, 2018
    Strong initial effort by author Sarah Smart combines memoir with facts and figures to further explain her family?s hardships over the last century. This combination approach is a difficult one to pull off because readers are constantly pulled from the engaging family narrative and fl...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    Dec 05, 2018
    If you?re thinking of writing your memoir about class and poverty to your not-yet-born/never-to-be-born daughter ?August? my advice is ? don?t. It?s weird and unneccessarily distracting. ...
  • Will
    Dec 12, 2018
    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 narrati...
  • Michelle
    Sep 17, 2018
    ?Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in The Richest Country on Earth? is a resounding story by Sarah Smarsh of her family life, heritage and farming culture on the Kansas prairie. With the passage of the Homestead Act (1862) over 270 million acres of land was availa...
  • John Bohnert
    Dec 29, 2018
    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 ic...
  • Kayo
    Jul 31, 2018
    Wasn't what I was expecting. Not up to Nickel and Dimed, not that I compared. Not thrilled that I could't give a review for months after I got it from Netgalley! Thanks to author, publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free, it had no ...
  • Kathleen
    Oct 05, 2018
    National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist 2018. Smarsh has chosen to write about her own family?s multigenerational struggle in Kansas to get ahead by working any way that they could to make ends meet. She focuses particularly on her female relatives and how their decisions contrib...
  • Elizabeth A.G.
    Dec 04, 2018
    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...
  • Mara
    Aug 24, 2018
    This book is so timely for our moment that it is almost hard to believe that the author began working on it more than a decade ago. Beautifully told, this memoir chronicles one family's life and times in Kansas as wheat farmers, trying to find their own American dream in a world where ...
  • Elizabeth
    Sep 07, 2018
    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. Ev...