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

by Sarah Smarsh


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Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
DanaLynne More than 1 year ago
Sarah Smarsh has written a provocative memoir and commentary on growing up in Kansas during the Reagan Era. Smarsh isn't just acquainted with poverty, her life is steeped in it, generation after generation of families who lived and breathed and often went hungry well below the poverty line. Smarsh's observations on what it's like to live with less in the land of excess. Her personal stories are accompanied by brilliant commentary on the effects of generational poverty in a country that promised to do better by its farmers. She also heartbreakingly details what it means to break the cycle of teenage motherhood and extreme poverty in her own life. Smarsh's story is transparent and beautiful even as it details a life of hardship, insecurity, and abuse. Recommended for fans of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated
Twink More than 1 year ago
Sarah Smarsh's memoir, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, was written over the course of fifteen years. Smarsh 'combed through public records, old newspaper, letters, photographs, and other archives to piece together a family history from the ill-documented chaos that poverty begets.' Smarsh was born to a teenage mother on the plains of Kansas. Her birth was the next chapter in a story of teen mothers, domestic abuse, inter generational poverty and more. But is also a story of resilience, strength, tenacity and hope for something better. Smarsh introduces us to the members of her family, with an honest and unadulterated voice. The emphasis is on the maternal members. I have to say, I was smitten by Grandma Betty. She is a force of nature, a rock to her family. Smarsh details her own family history, but also includes how government policies, programs and the economic climate over the years impact the working poor. Smarsh has written Heartland with asides and ruminations to the child/daughter she will never have. (by choice). I did find this a bit hard to wrap my head around in the opening chapters. It continues throughout the book and although I understand she has broken the pattern and chosen not to raise another generation, it became a bit repetitive and lost it's initial impact. As I read, I found myself nodding my head, as some of Smarsh's story is familiar to me - snippets of conversation, situations and hurdles to overcome. I always feel privileged to read a memoir, a telling of lives.... "With deepest reverence, thank you to my family for surviving, with humor and dignity, the difficulties that allowed this book to exist. When I asked for their blessing to tell our shared past, they bravely answered yes. Their reasons for standing behind my work, as they sometimes told me: Because it might help someone else, and because it is true." Thank you Sarah Smarsh for sharing.
Anonymous 28 days ago
smg5775 7 months ago
I could identify with Sarah's emotions as she talks about growing up even though I grew up in the city while she was in farm country and there is over 30 years between us. She had a hard life but survived and succeeded by choosing not to follow her family's cycle. She is between two worlds but can handle both. She tells the truth and I felt bad for her but rooted for her to break the cycle of poverty. I was glad to see her make it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book I couldn't put down and didn't want it to end and reading it gave me hope that someone else had a similar story to mine and that she made it so maybe I will to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoy it. Enjoyed very much Enjoyed very much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cried, laughed, and cheered for you Sarah! Thanks for sharing your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. The story of poverty is the same regardless of what area you are from.
constructivedisorder More than 1 year ago
Very moving and true.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A useful perspective for begining to understand this particular situation of poverty.
Anonymous 11 months ago