• Heartland

  • A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
  • By: Sarah Smarsh
  • Narrated by: Sarah Smarsh
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An eye-opening, topical, and moving memoir of one woman’s experience of working-class poverty in America. 

Born a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teenage mothers on her maternal side, Smarsh grew up in a family of labourers trapped in a cycle of poverty. She learned about hard work and also absorbed painful lessons about economic inequality, eventually coming to understand the powerful forces that have blighted the lives of poor and working-class Americans living in the heartland. 

By sharing the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to consider modern-day America from a different perspective. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is a searing, uncompromising look at class, identity, and the perils of having less in a country known for its excess. 

©2019 Sarah Smarsh (P)2019 Simon and Schuster

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  • Arlene Finnigan
  • 11-23-21

Powerful memoir and critique

This is a great, powerful memoir of growing up in rural poverty. It's a really interesting format, written as a series of letters to a child she chose to not have. It describes the experience of generations of her family, the limited opportunities available to them, and what impact that had on the choices they made. It also powerfully criticises the way both liberals and conservatives view families like hers, and it's really refreshing to hear the perspective of someone's lived experience of growing up in what many would sneer at as a 'redneck' or 'hillbilly' town. A heartfelt memoir, and a critique of the myth of American dream.