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Ohio Poet Laureate and Appalachian Authors Call Out 'Hillbilly Elegy'

Don't Cry for Us. J.D. Vance.jpg
"Don't Cry for Us, J.D. Vance" / Facebook
J.D. Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy" has received renewed criticism since Netflix released its movie adaptation of the best-selling memoir last month.

A group of Appalachian writers is holding a reading in response to Hillbilly Elegy. That’s the new Netflix movie based on a best-selling memoir by Ohio author J.D. Vance.

They say the movie and the book are inaccurate portrayals of Appalachia.

The event is called “Don’t Cry for Us, J.D Vance.”

Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour says Vance’s Appalachia is a tired stereotype.

“You know, the people are lazy and they don’t try hard enough, and if you try just hard enough, you will be able to pull yourself up by your bootstrings, leave Appalachia, and do good,” she says.

Gunter-Seymour notes that the region has certainly had its struggles, but the people take care of each other.

“I’m so proud of Appalachia,” she says. “We have been preyed upon so many times: big coal, timber, iron, fracking. There’s barely been a hand offered to us that hasn't tried to destroy us, but we abide.”

The reading and discussion will take place on Zoom at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3.

Attendees can register in advance on Facebook.