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“. . . One of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest . . . Indeed, we are all more than heroes and villains, and Jamison does a great job of showing how and where our humanity gets lost between the two.” -- Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter and host of the HBO podcast Lovecraft Country Radio J.R. Jamison spends his days in a world of “. . . One of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest . . . Indeed, we are all more than heroes and villains, and Jamison does a great job of showing how and where our humanity gets lost between the two.” -- Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter and host of the HBO podcast Lovecraft Country Radio J.R. Jamison spends his days in a world of trigger warnings and safe spaces, while his trigger-happy dad, Dave, spends his questioning why Americans have become so sensitive. Yet at the height of the 2016 election, the two decide to put political differences aside and travel to rural Missouri for Dave’s fifty-five year class reunion. But with the constant backdrop of the Trump vs. Clinton battle at every turn, they are forced to explore one formidable question: Will the trip push them further apart or bring them closer together? Traveling through the rural, sun-beaten landscapes of Missouri the two meet people along the way who challenge their concepts of right and wrong, and together they uncover truths about their family’s past that reveals more than political differences, they discover a lesson on the human condition that lands them on the international pages of The Guardian. Hillbilly Queer is an enduring love story between a dad and son who find that sometimes the differences between us aren't really that different at all. “One of those rare books that finds beauty in the irreconcilable. In an age when our politics and our nation can feel broken, Hillbilly Queer shows us the messy glue of love that still holds families together.” -- Samantha Allen, author of Real Queer America


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“. . . One of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest . . . Indeed, we are all more than heroes and villains, and Jamison does a great job of showing how and where our humanity gets lost between the two.” -- Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter and host of the HBO podcast Lovecraft Country Radio J.R. Jamison spends his days in a world of “. . . One of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest . . . Indeed, we are all more than heroes and villains, and Jamison does a great job of showing how and where our humanity gets lost between the two.” -- Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter and host of the HBO podcast Lovecraft Country Radio J.R. Jamison spends his days in a world of trigger warnings and safe spaces, while his trigger-happy dad, Dave, spends his questioning why Americans have become so sensitive. Yet at the height of the 2016 election, the two decide to put political differences aside and travel to rural Missouri for Dave’s fifty-five year class reunion. But with the constant backdrop of the Trump vs. Clinton battle at every turn, they are forced to explore one formidable question: Will the trip push them further apart or bring them closer together? Traveling through the rural, sun-beaten landscapes of Missouri the two meet people along the way who challenge their concepts of right and wrong, and together they uncover truths about their family’s past that reveals more than political differences, they discover a lesson on the human condition that lands them on the international pages of The Guardian. Hillbilly Queer is an enduring love story between a dad and son who find that sometimes the differences between us aren't really that different at all. “One of those rare books that finds beauty in the irreconcilable. In an age when our politics and our nation can feel broken, Hillbilly Queer shows us the messy glue of love that still holds families together.” -- Samantha Allen, author of Real Queer America

30 review for Hillbilly Queer: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Excellent, reflective memoir of a father and son, set against the 2016 election. J.R. Jamison’s mix of the past the future add so much thoughtfulness and texture to this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dhrish

    C/W: Scene with dubious consent I read "HillBilly Queer" after the storming of the Capitol Building and during the week of the political events and conversations that followed. This review is probably one of the most biased I've written based on the above events, but I do think that it is important to put across how I feel about this book. "Hillbilly Queer" doesn't document a profoundly new story however it does draw the reader into a father-son relationship. Set using the backdrop of the 2016 ele C/W: Scene with dubious consent I read "HillBilly Queer" after the storming of the Capitol Building and during the week of the political events and conversations that followed. This review is probably one of the most biased I've written based on the above events, but I do think that it is important to put across how I feel about this book. "Hillbilly Queer" doesn't document a profoundly new story however it does draw the reader into a father-son relationship. Set using the backdrop of the 2016 election cycle, Jamison and Dave as they travel back to Dave's hometown for a class reunion. Throughout the memoir, we see Jamison attempt to understand his dad's reasons for ardently supporting Trump, while Jamison doesn't. Jamison details exceptionally well the messy family relationships that are made messier by politics. Believe me, this is a story that has been made personally familiar to me over the last 4 years and probably to many others. I was 18 during the 2016 election cycle and at 22, I am tired of the rhetoric that reaching across the divide works because it clearly doesn't. Trump's presidency from day 1 has filled me with fear and anxiety, both emotions have only grown during his presidential cycle. The last four years and its aftermath is proof of what happens when we endorse the kind of behaviour that Trump incites. I have watched how the US's endorsement of their president stir up right-wing behaviour across the world. The political events from the first two weeks of 2021 have convinced me, now more than ever, that we need to stop humanising the rise of this behaviour (no matter how good and honourable those intentions may seem to those who take part). While I acknowledge that Jamison's story is a deeply personal one. It is not one I think we should be hearing. Because regardless of whether a family does love their queer son, I wonder if it is love, if their politics, (which impacts their son greatly) goes against their son's ability to live life on equal terms. Thank you to NetGalley and IBPA for allowing me to read an e-arc of this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    J.R. Jamison reluctantly agreed to go to his dad’s high school reunion in rural Missouri. As his dad, Dave, relives his glory days as a mischievous, star athlete, J.R. learns about his own backwoods, rural, holler, hillbilly roots. Dave is a hunter, Baptist, and Trump supporter. J.R. is a happily married gay man whose marriage is threatened by the politics and faith Dave follows. Dave drinks Budweiser and J.R. drinks imported Saison. There are so many ways this trip could have gone hilariously a J.R. Jamison reluctantly agreed to go to his dad’s high school reunion in rural Missouri. As his dad, Dave, relives his glory days as a mischievous, star athlete, J.R. learns about his own backwoods, rural, holler, hillbilly roots. Dave is a hunter, Baptist, and Trump supporter. J.R. is a happily married gay man whose marriage is threatened by the politics and faith Dave follows. Dave drinks Budweiser and J.R. drinks imported Saison. There are so many ways this trip could have gone hilariously and heartbreakingly wrong. And while there are plenty of moments when I laughed out loud, there’s something much deeper at work here than the premise of a gay man road tripping with his dad to a reunion. (Surely that’s an amazing sitcom episode.) Dave loves J.R. unconditionally, but will J.R. accept his dad? In an age of “if you don’t agree with this you can unfriend me now,” where families have been torn apart by divisive politics, J.R.’s love, understanding, and compassion for his father grow as they spend more time together. While the road trip ties the narrative together and offers up poignant reflections on identity, mortality, class, and acceptance, my favorite moments were the flashbacks to J.R.’s childhood, such as when his dad found a love letter from his first boyfriend. Dave always has accepted his son. J.R. grows to accept and appreciate not just his father, but his family history and the community he comes from, even when they don’t accept him. Our country is divided between rural and city, Democrat and Republican, by religion and politics, and somehow Dave and J.R. connect across differences and love each other as a father and son should. I just hope the rest of us can follow in their footsteps.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Keri

    Joe and his father are complete opposites. Joe is gay, married to a man, and living in the "big city." Dave, his father, is very conservative, thinks homosexuals will not go to heaven, lives in rural Indiana, and supports Donald Trump. In Hillbilly Queer, our author accompanies his father on a trip back to his hometown for his 55th high school reunion. Jamison agrees to go on this trip in hopes of rekindling his relationship with his father, who he feels at times is a complete stranger. This mem Joe and his father are complete opposites. Joe is gay, married to a man, and living in the "big city." Dave, his father, is very conservative, thinks homosexuals will not go to heaven, lives in rural Indiana, and supports Donald Trump. In Hillbilly Queer, our author accompanies his father on a trip back to his hometown for his 55th high school reunion. Jamison agrees to go on this trip in hopes of rekindling his relationship with his father, who he feels at times is a complete stranger. This memoir hits home. Hillbilly Queer tells a story quite similar to my own, and one that many people I know have had to deal with. While it's idealistic to assume families that have such differing political opinions (specifically regarding Donald Trump) can get along if they just don't discuss politics, that can be a dangerous narrative to paint. There's a constant struggle with having family members that wholeheartedly support Trump. Do you show empathy and give them a pass "because of how they were raised" or do you continuously push back, explain his faults and how he is dangerous until you are blue in the face, ultimately accomplishing nothing in the end anyway? I understand more than most how tempting it can be to let things slide for the sake of avoiding an argument, but recent events (the past four years actually) have shown what can happen when you don't address a situation immediately. While I appreciate the author's story and understand it is a personal one, I don't think we are accomplishing anything by continuing the narrative of "reaching across the aisle." Thank you to NetGalley and IBPA for my advanced copy of Hillbilly Queer in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teri Case

    A must-read for fans of THE GLASS CASTLE and HILLBILLY ELEGY. HILLBILLY QUEER is a thought-provoking memoir written by J.R. Jamison, who grew up a "hillbilly" and "queer" in a highly homophobic and hillbilly Indiana area. The memoir covers the days of his father's fifty-fifth class reunion during one of the weeks leading up to trump's election. His father, Dave, has a moral compass founded in the bible and the boy scouts which are anti-LGBTQA+ (the latter at the time of this novel), yet, it's cle A must-read for fans of THE GLASS CASTLE and HILLBILLY ELEGY. HILLBILLY QUEER is a thought-provoking memoir written by J.R. Jamison, who grew up a "hillbilly" and "queer" in a highly homophobic and hillbilly Indiana area. The memoir covers the days of his father's fifty-fifth class reunion during one of the weeks leading up to trump's election. His father, Dave, has a moral compass founded in the bible and the boy scouts which are anti-LGBTQA+ (the latter at the time of this novel), yet, it's clear Dave loves his son "no matter what." And J.R. will love his father no matter how he votes, but he'd sure like to understand his dad and his reasoning even though they will never agree. The memoir becomes a journey of J.R. recognizing the labels/terms/teams we often attach to—words that create fear, assumptions, and divisiveness. Trump vs. Clinton. Fox News vs. CNN. Race X vs. Race Y. LGBTQA+ vs. "straight." Liberal vs. Conservative. Hillbilly vs. ... and the author realizes that the bridge he is trying to build with his dad before it's too late is the same bridge that might help a nation and humanity trending toward chaos. I highly recommend Jamison's memoir for book clubs, classrooms, families, and more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melisende

    " ... sometimes one has to go back to find their true selves ..." This for me was a story one one man's journey "... to decide what is important to keep in our lives and what is important to let go .." as he traverses the back roads of Missouri with his 72yo father, Dave, who is on his way to his 55 year class reunion. Jamison reflects not only on his father's life but on his own, growing up where, although he knew he was gay, it wasn't geographically or culturally permissible to acknowledge this " ... sometimes one has to go back to find their true selves ..." This for me was a story one one man's journey "... to decide what is important to keep in our lives and what is important to let go .." as he traverses the back roads of Missouri with his 72yo father, Dave, who is on his way to his 55 year class reunion. Jamison reflects not only on his father's life but on his own, growing up where, although he knew he was gay, it wasn't geographically or culturally permissible to acknowledge this openly - that fear of non-acceptable within the "good ole boy" community and of the social consequences of doing so. That fact that this memoir coincided with the election that saw Trump come to power was, for me, a non-US citizen, neither here nor there. I guess I was able to compartmentalise the political aspects - everyone is entitled to their own political views and many families hold opposing, and oft time polarising views - nothing new there - I guess it was just that in this instance, it was a bit more public. Maybe others are reading more into this than I am. I read it for what it was - one man's journey of discovery, acceptance, and most importantly family.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    It was an honor and a privilege to be an early reader of my friend J.R. Jamison's forthcoming memoir, "Hillbilly Queer." What I loved most about "Hillbilly Queer" was how J.R.'s life story was one that I recognized on multiple levels: as a fellow Midwesterner with family members equally devoted to a political personality—and ideology—that I'm at odds with; as a friend who recognized how hard it must have been not just for J.R., but several of her other fellow Midwestern friends—to come out as th It was an honor and a privilege to be an early reader of my friend J.R. Jamison's forthcoming memoir, "Hillbilly Queer." What I loved most about "Hillbilly Queer" was how J.R.'s life story was one that I recognized on multiple levels: as a fellow Midwesterner with family members equally devoted to a political personality—and ideology—that I'm at odds with; as a friend who recognized how hard it must have been not just for J.R., but several of her other fellow Midwestern friends—to come out as they did in the '90s and early aughts; and as a fellow child who seeks only to find the best in her parents. This was such an enlightening road trip to take alongside J.R. and his father, Dave, and it warmed my heart to see the spirit of a fellow Hoosier captured so poignantly on the page.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Brown

    Very timely and thoughtful

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really wanted to like this book, but it fell flat for me despite some strong and touching parts. The family history J.R. discovers while roadtripping with his dad and the memories he recalls as they interact are by far the strongest pieces. But overall, I felt like the book couldn't decide if it wanted to be more a family story set against the backdrop of a divided America or a sociological and political argument about moving past that divide. It felt at times like it was trying to be both too I really wanted to like this book, but it fell flat for me despite some strong and touching parts. The family history J.R. discovers while roadtripping with his dad and the memories he recalls as they interact are by far the strongest pieces. But overall, I felt like the book couldn't decide if it wanted to be more a family story set against the backdrop of a divided America or a sociological and political argument about moving past that divide. It felt at times like it was trying to be both too much to ultimately succeed at either. The personal narrative was repetitive in places, and while some memories were wonderfully illustrative - the nail polish story was one of my favorite parts - others felt lacking depth or emotion for me. Despite ostensibly being a memoir, I didn't get a great sense for who J.R. is as a person, particularly in the early chapters, aside from being gay and liking theater and his husband. As a political and sociological argument, the 2016 narrative feels anachronistic in 2021 after four years of a Trump presidency and a much clearer idea of what it looked like for America. There's not much of a clear takeaway - the reader never gets a sense of how J.R.'s dad went from saying gay people were going to die of AIDS to accepting his son, though we're told repeatedly that the shift took place. There are some great nuggets in here, but ultimately this frustrated more than it inspired or illuminated.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lilithcarter

    I received this e-ARC book from Netgally in exchange for an honest review Please read the blurb of the memoir as this is only my opinion. Trigger warnings: as you can imagine from the title of the book there's plenty of homophobia, sexism, racism, classism, political talk (set in the 2016 USA elections) there's a bit of child neglect, and a plethora of toxic masculinity. So stay away of any of those would trigger you. I have never read a memoir about someone I wasn't familiar with before. So it's I received this e-ARC book from Netgally in exchange for an honest review Please read the blurb of the memoir as this is only my opinion. Trigger warnings: as you can imagine from the title of the book there's plenty of homophobia, sexism, racism, classism, political talk (set in the 2016 USA elections) there's a bit of child neglect, and a plethora of toxic masculinity. So stay away of any of those would trigger you. I have never read a memoir about someone I wasn't familiar with before. So it's hard to read about someone's life without having any real connection to that person or previous knowledge of their work. The writing style is really good and flows very nicely, taking you to places and tangents and going into intimate memories and writing you back to 2016. It was a very nice ride and I particularly enjoy the fact that is a father and son bonding road trip which I haven't read enough of. Having said that I felt kind of confused as it took place in only four days, but it felt it more like four weeks. I was in a online book presentation with the author and thought this guy is very interesting and I got curious about the work on The facing project. Spending a bit of time getting to know person behind the book helped me finishing the story faster. Unfortunately I didn't feel there was much of a connection with the author as I found some parts of the book kind of problematic. Mainly the fact that he preferred to accept someone thinking he had Italian roots, rather than correcting the people and be proud of his Native American family history. Or believing that having a Cartier bracelet and designer clothing makes him better than the people he was surrounded by in this road trip. Please do note that he talks constantly about his roots and even goes to the graves of part of his family, but by the end of the book I didn't feel he actually was proud of that side of his history even when is mention is only at the end in a quick line that nearly gets lots amongst political talk. This book is going to touch people differently and in so many ways and so many levels because it's well written, and is real, I think it's kind of ironic that many people can relate to being marginalised, or segregated, it saddens me. That I disagree with some of the author’s perspectives, and judgments doesn't make a bad read. It somehow, at least for me, made it richer, as it made me think and reflect. I'd love to see and read more reviews on this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aiya

    I love reading memoirs, it’s such a fun way to see the world through someone else’s eyes. But this one was not what I was expecting. J.R. and his father spend the whole trip trying to “reach across the divide” politically, as his father is a staunch Trump supporter and he is a liberal gay man. Throughout the book, J.R. makes a point to say that it’s not about politics, it’s about the people in this country. That’s all fine and good, but the issues that Trump brought out in people can not and wil I love reading memoirs, it’s such a fun way to see the world through someone else’s eyes. But this one was not what I was expecting. J.R. and his father spend the whole trip trying to “reach across the divide” politically, as his father is a staunch Trump supporter and he is a liberal gay man. Throughout the book, J.R. makes a point to say that it’s not about politics, it’s about the people in this country. That’s all fine and good, but the issues that Trump brought out in people can not and will not be changed with love. It’s a very privileged take for this cis white man to say that they can, and I personally felt like even as he talked about class and race privilege and how it all played into politics, it was a bit of a coverup for his other statements. I am tired of always being the one who’s expected to compromise, or make the other side feel accepted, or grimace and fake a smile to keep the peace. J.R.’s ability to sit at tables and listen to his father and his fathers friends talk about their love for Trump just hit me in a strange way. I did enjoy the writing style, and the stories from his family history being sprinkled throughout was really cool. It was definitely interesting to see the way that working-class Trump supporters viewed him, and the consistency of Fox News being on wherever J.R. went made me laugh. I would recommend this to a friend, and I think in another 4 years I’d be more amenable to hear what he is saying. I think the wounds from Trump’s presidency are still just too fresh.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cavak

    I was trying to save this for my Pride Month read, but I couldn't help myself. The premise interested me too much. Since I don't know Jamison from any of his written publications, Hillbilly Queer was a fun discovery every step of the way. When the mainstream narrative appears to encourage ostracizing the outliers, it's pleasant to know someone is pushing for mindful and compassionate listening. Without being preachy about it! Especially from two walks of life that I didn't quite expect. And the i I was trying to save this for my Pride Month read, but I couldn't help myself. The premise interested me too much. Since I don't know Jamison from any of his written publications, Hillbilly Queer was a fun discovery every step of the way. When the mainstream narrative appears to encourage ostracizing the outliers, it's pleasant to know someone is pushing for mindful and compassionate listening. Without being preachy about it! Especially from two walks of life that I didn't quite expect. And the instant recoil that can be expected upon first hearing the title. Out of curiosity, I gave this book to my right-minded grandmother. Similar to Papa Jamison in political mindset. She got bored while reading it, saying it was the same thing over and over again. Don't worry. I still love you, Grandma. I thought it was a sweet read. The vulnerability expressed within the wholesome father-son relationship sucked me into the last page. Photo montage at the end was like icing on the cake. It really cemented what he was saying, about looking the part but not really "being" the part. Best part about it was the memoir was focused on an once-in-a-lifetime car trip. Sure, they can always do the trip again. But the takeaways won't be the same. Mundane maybe, yet it's that snuff of heartfelt bonding that I can't get enough of while reading. Ideologies change with the passage of time. I'm wishing for a day when they aren't used as weapons to polarize. Whenever that will be. I'll appreciate this record of empathy until then. Please try Hillbilly Queer if the blurb interests you. You might walk away changed, or not. Either way, I'm sure Jamison will try to understand and forgive you. I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma Charles

    I am struggling to write a review for this title. Hillbilly Queer is a memoir written by J.R. Jamison that touches on many topics, including the severe political divide currently in the United States. Jamison's family, like many American families, has members who fall on each end of the spectrum. In this case, Jamison is a gay man who is very left-leaning politically and his father is more conservative. The memoir unfolds during the 2016 election season as the two go on a trip to his father's ho I am struggling to write a review for this title. Hillbilly Queer is a memoir written by J.R. Jamison that touches on many topics, including the severe political divide currently in the United States. Jamison's family, like many American families, has members who fall on each end of the spectrum. In this case, Jamison is a gay man who is very left-leaning politically and his father is more conservative. The memoir unfolds during the 2016 election season as the two go on a trip to his father's hometown for his high school reunion. The author is trying to understand and accept that his father is planning to vote for Donald Trump - a candidate who is not LGBTQ+ friendly (that might be an understatement) among other things (racist, sexist, an accused sexual abuser, xenophobic, etc.). Here's why this review is difficult to write: this is a nonfiction account of Jamison's experience with Trump supporters as a gay man. I do not think it's appropriate for me to invalidate his story and I am glad that he was able to write this memoir. However, something about this book did not sit right with me. Maybe it was because I read it five years after the events occurred, just months after Donald Trump left the white house leaving the country in shambles. This memoir encourages readers to reach across the political aisle and embrace those who hold different views than us. Which is great in theory. But is it realistic at this time? Just something to consider if you decide to pick up this title... (PUB DATE: 05/11/2021) (I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Willoughby

    Thank you to Net Galley and The Facing Project for the digital ARC of this book. This book is exactly as described; a memoir of a father-son road trip. The father, the Hillbilly, the son, the Queer. But this is a simplified explanation. There was so much more to it. This story has self-exploration, self-reflection, and understanding, both for oneself and others. It is a coming-of-age story but the author "comes of age" in four days. I realize that much of the self-awareness JR derived was over de Thank you to Net Galley and The Facing Project for the digital ARC of this book. This book is exactly as described; a memoir of a father-son road trip. The father, the Hillbilly, the son, the Queer. But this is a simplified explanation. There was so much more to it. This story has self-exploration, self-reflection, and understanding, both for oneself and others. It is a coming-of-age story but the author "comes of age" in four days. I realize that much of the self-awareness JR derived was over decades growing up gay in Missouri with a parent who held negative views about gay people, but it seemed that everything synthesized for him in the span of that short road-trip. Writing this story must have been cathartic. He was able to heal some deep wounds within himself and his relationships. By the end of the book he was able to see himself and his father more clearly. It seemed to help him understand that we, as individuals and as a nation, need all kinds of people. Even if we don't always agree, there are ways for us to come together. This book is an awakening and I loved being let in on this private journey.

  15. 4 out of 5

    sierra

    Maybe a content warning should be added for homophobia and racism but the whole premise is trump's election so maybe that's a given. Reading this after the second almost impeachment of trump yesterday truly hits in ways I didn't expect. My own father and brother are trumpers and I'm one of those liberals who thought he'd never be president. I was all ready and excited for our first female president to be Hillary. I relate a lot to J.R. but honestly my dad and brother are people I dread the idea Maybe a content warning should be added for homophobia and racism but the whole premise is trump's election so maybe that's a given. Reading this after the second almost impeachment of trump yesterday truly hits in ways I didn't expect. My own father and brother are trumpers and I'm one of those liberals who thought he'd never be president. I was all ready and excited for our first female president to be Hillary. I relate a lot to J.R. but honestly my dad and brother are people I dread the idea of seeing. I still see trump 2020 flags less than 3 miles from my house and I have the desire to set them on fire. If you agree to disagree then this is a great book for you but If I were J.R. I would've drove back home on the first day. No discussion about it. This book made me so mad but also sad. Check it out but grab your tissues and stress ball.....you'll surely need both.....sometimes for one page you'll be screaming and crying. This is America......hate&love on the same street and trump didn't create all the hate ; he just added a bit of fuel.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    If you know me well at all, you know it takes a lot for me to pick up a memoir. I'm normally a "strictly fiction" kind of guy. Therefore, it's even harder for me to pick one up and actually like it. Enter "Hillbilly Queer". This was the story I feel I needed lately. Since starting my career as a therapist, it has become even more blatantly obvious that there is a detrimental divide in our nation right now. This book gives me hope. This book makes me happy. This book shows that people can have di If you know me well at all, you know it takes a lot for me to pick up a memoir. I'm normally a "strictly fiction" kind of guy. Therefore, it's even harder for me to pick one up and actually like it. Enter "Hillbilly Queer". This was the story I feel I needed lately. Since starting my career as a therapist, it has become even more blatantly obvious that there is a detrimental divide in our nation right now. This book gives me hope. This book makes me happy. This book shows that people can have differing opinions and still love each other. My biggest fear while reading this is that the people who NEED to read this book will never pick it up. I found it slightly redundant at points but the redundancy was justified by the author's ability to make you think. I identify with this book on so many levels and can't wait for more people to read it! I already plan on sending this a specific person when it's officially released! Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to have the opportunity to dive into this e-ARC.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Val

    On paper, J. R. Jamison and his father are as different as it gets, but when his father asks him to take a road trip to a high school reunion, Jamison surprises himself by agreeing to this chance to reconnect with his aging, ailing father. Jamison writes openly and honestly about the trip, beginning with an intro that left me doubting how he and his father could ever make the relationship work. This heartfelt memoir will resonate with any reader who struggles with relatives and loved ones who se On paper, J. R. Jamison and his father are as different as it gets, but when his father asks him to take a road trip to a high school reunion, Jamison surprises himself by agreeing to this chance to reconnect with his aging, ailing father. Jamison writes openly and honestly about the trip, beginning with an intro that left me doubting how he and his father could ever make the relationship work. This heartfelt memoir will resonate with any reader who struggles with relatives and loved ones who seem to live diametrically opposite lives: rural vs urban, gay vs straight, Democratic vs Republican. Personally, my father and I share many political views, but still struggle to connect the way I want. Even if you and your parent vote the same, the struggle to communicate and navigate parent-child relationships as an adult are universal, and Jamison's memoir handles this in a way that will appeal to most readers. ***Very happy to have read this courtesy of NetGalley.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Monica Thomas

    I truly loved this memoir. J.R.'s story is fraught with tension, and there were many moments I felt my heart begin to race, as though I was right beside him on his incredible journeys-- both the literal journey into Missouri with his father and the lifelong journey of self discovery and acceptance. I especially appreciated the weaving of his family's ancestry into his story. It served as a reminder of our never-ending quest for our family's approval, how the circumstances may differ but the long I truly loved this memoir. J.R.'s story is fraught with tension, and there were many moments I felt my heart begin to race, as though I was right beside him on his incredible journeys-- both the literal journey into Missouri with his father and the lifelong journey of self discovery and acceptance. I especially appreciated the weaving of his family's ancestry into his story. It served as a reminder of our never-ending quest for our family's approval, how the circumstances may differ but the longing repeats itself in each generation. I found it to not only be interesting, but beautiful. There was so much I connected with in J.R.'s story, perhaps because I am a marginalized person living in a small Midwestern town. But ultimately, I believe what connected me to the story is a moral of the book itself--we are not as divided as we think.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ronni Klein

    I honestly wasn't sure going into this memoir, and even into the first few chapters, how I was going to like it. It felt like a lot of political, anti- a certain politician stuff. However, I enjoyed the ultimate message of this book and think it is well worth a read for anyone on either side of the political spectrum. The message isn't ultimately about politics at all, at least not in the sense you'd think. The message that J.R. gives to us is what I have been feeling so long. We all feel like w I honestly wasn't sure going into this memoir, and even into the first few chapters, how I was going to like it. It felt like a lot of political, anti- a certain politician stuff. However, I enjoyed the ultimate message of this book and think it is well worth a read for anyone on either side of the political spectrum. The message isn't ultimately about politics at all, at least not in the sense you'd think. The message that J.R. gives to us is what I have been feeling so long. We all feel like we have to be on one side or the other and that we can't support or love someone who doesn't agree with us or share the same exact beliefs. We're all human, but we're not all the same. Beautifully done, J.R. I loved the story and didn't want it to end!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Happy Booker

    Hillbilly Queer is a memoir written about how the author grew up as a hillbilly and queer in a neighbourhood where they were primarily homophobic. The journey discusses recognition over terms like labelling, fear, diversity and race. The story also focuses on the author’s relationship with his dad. I particularly enjoyed reading about how he wanted to rebuild that connection with him and how it reminisced with it being a way for others to also behave towards each other. The literature was easy to Hillbilly Queer is a memoir written about how the author grew up as a hillbilly and queer in a neighbourhood where they were primarily homophobic. The journey discusses recognition over terms like labelling, fear, diversity and race. The story also focuses on the author’s relationship with his dad. I particularly enjoyed reading about how he wanted to rebuild that connection with him and how it reminisced with it being a way for others to also behave towards each other. The literature was easy to read and follow. It was descriptive and heartfelt. I appreciated the honesty and believe that’s what makes a memoir stand out. As a reader, I felt the authors situation and recommend this book to anyone who likes to read biographies.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol Macarthur

    Jamison writes a memoir perfect for our times, one which echoes much in our country: a gay narrator and his Trump-following father take a trip down memory lane in the heart of Trump country. This is a memoir to which Midwestern folks will relate, especially those who have left the midwest and look back to Flyover Country objectively. This memoir, too, may well appeal to readers from the coasts who wish to understand the Trump phenomenon, presented here so carefully from the narration of the son Jamison writes a memoir perfect for our times, one which echoes much in our country: a gay narrator and his Trump-following father take a trip down memory lane in the heart of Trump country. This is a memoir to which Midwestern folks will relate, especially those who have left the midwest and look back to Flyover Country objectively. This memoir, too, may well appeal to readers from the coasts who wish to understand the Trump phenomenon, presented here so carefully from the narration of the son. Poignant.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Son and father, jarringly divided in their politics, religion, and sexuality, embark on a road trip together. Through empathy, open-mindedness, and a willingness to listen to one another, they discover the deepest of connection through love and the human condition. Hillbilly Queer documents deeply traumatic homophobic attacks faced by the LGBTQ+ community in an objective and informative manner. Simultaneously, it is also a story of courage and forgiveness.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Brown

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I would have read it all in one sitting, but I eventually had to go to sleep. It was heartwarming and difficult to put down. I found the author relatable, full of empathy. His relationship with his father is enviable. We need more people like this in the world. I am hoping to see more from this author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lucy McCoskey

    "listen. forgive. learn" writes the author about his trip with his dad back to his high school reunion. but it's a tale of a Trump-loving dad & his gay Trump-hating son. JR Jamison looks at their differences through love & a desire to know, trying to understand and not judge. it's an allegory for where we all should be but mostly can't want to be "listen. forgive. learn" writes the author about his trip with his dad back to his high school reunion. but it's a tale of a Trump-loving dad & his gay Trump-hating son. JR Jamison looks at their differences through love & a desire to know, trying to understand and not judge. it's an allegory for where we all should be but mostly can't want to be

  25. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I expected to read a book lined with stories about a father accepting his son. I was surprised to be more provoked by the converse. This was a great read and reminder of what it means to truly listen to understand.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Madison Auchincloss

    A really fascinating look at the way that we can bridge generations and come to an understanding despite our differences. I really enjoyed the inner conflict in this book and appreciated the way it resolved itself. Excellent book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori Kniffin

    As an educator who aspires to bring more dialogue across difference, I found “Hillbilly Queer” to be an inspiring example of how people with differing views can find empathy, understanding, and love by listening to one another. By reading J.R.’s memoir, you’ll get to learn about the lived progressive and conservative values that operate in many of our families. This is a much needed story in our polarized world, and J.R.’s way with words will keep your pages turning. This is the first publicatio As an educator who aspires to bring more dialogue across difference, I found “Hillbilly Queer” to be an inspiring example of how people with differing views can find empathy, understanding, and love by listening to one another. By reading J.R.’s memoir, you’ll get to learn about the lived progressive and conservative values that operate in many of our families. This is a much needed story in our polarized world, and J.R.’s way with words will keep your pages turning. This is the first publication of its kind (memoir/narrative nonfiction) of The Facing Project Press, which furthers The Facing Project’s mission of “creating a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josiah Denny

  29. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine Gillman

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Denker

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