Magazine December 31, 2020, Issue

What Explains the Movie Critics’ Loathing of Hillbilly Elegy?

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)

In the summer of 2016, I went into a bookstore in Maine looking for a book that I thought my wife would like to read — a memoir about growing up as the heir to rural Appalachian culture and passing from that world into the gilded precincts of the meritocracy, written by a guy I knew a little bit through a few mutual friends in Washington, D.C. 

The bookstore was a safe space for a certain kind of New England lefty politics, with Bernie bumper stickers sharing wall space with New Age slogans, and a curated display of political titles that

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This article appears as “More Interesting Than Its Reputation” in the December 31, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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