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What I have been reading: Janesville

This book is a documentary concerning the impact of closure of a General Motors plant on a small town.

This is not a very fun book or very entertaining. It is sad and perhaps has some lessons. It was difficult to finish.  I did finish it, expecting to learn something useful -- perhaps attaining a better understanding of small midwestern towns. 

Janesville is the home of Paul Ryan, a politician, but the book doesn't have much to say about him.  Rather it follows the lives of people in the town who are mostly devastated by the disruption of their main employer.  Curiously, well meaning efforts to retrain Janesville ex-Gm employees was correlated with worse outcomes, compared to just finding another job. 

My overall thought about this book is that it was sad that these people became so dependent on the GM factory, and that it was unfortunate for a small town like this to have a single dominant employer.




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