It's a fair quibble, but I think the big problem, inescapable in the book, is Vance's disregard for the structural, external factors that are, I think, primarily responsible for the conditions of the white working poor in Appalachia. I find it bothersome -- whether in the investment banker Vance, Dabo Swinney, or any other remarkable southerner to have emerged from poverty -- for a particular, exceptional individual to sermonize about his or her own experience as though it were not exceptional, as though it were typical and achievable and as though any resident of Paducah could emerge unscathed and upwardly mobile from abject, structural poverty. I think Vance's position is rooted in resentment for those who didn't do as well as he, or who gamed the welfare system or whatever. It's rooted in anecdotal evidence of abuse of the social safety net and the same sort of stories that have been exploited as grist to deprive the poor of access to state support. Basically, I came away from the book thinking that he was Frank Grimes in a world full of Homer Simpsons.
I admit my reception of it was colored by the notable absence of any coherent reckoning with the political economy of his upbringing. Maybe that wasn't his point, and if one's expectations were otherwise, it would come off as an arresting memoir. I'm curious to hear your thoughts upon completing the book.