For all the problems in the main character’s life – from the drug addict mother, the violent patriarch to the broken health system – the drama finds only one answer: everyone is forge their own happiness. Because hey! After all, with discipline and hard work, our hero managed to become a businessman and politician who, even as a young man, went to the war in Iraq to defend his country.
There is hardly anyone who could do a better marketing job for Trump than Vance. Instead of addressing an ailing health system or the imbalance in education, “Hillbilly Elegie” shifts the structural problems of the USA onto the population and thus prevents any debate about urgent political reforms.
Ultimately, the story of Vance is no explanation for Trump’s success, just a self-indulgent staging of a Republican who lacks any sense of social injustice.