Book Review- Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit

A young woman’s debut memoir of grit and tenacity, as she returns to the conservative hometown she always longed to escape to earn a living in the steel mill that casts a shadow over Cleveland.

Steel is the only thing that shines in the belly of the mill…

To ArcelorMittal Steel Eliese is known as #6691: Utility Worker, but this was never her dream. Fresh out of college, eager to leave behind her conservative hometown and come to terms with her Christian roots, Eliese found herself applying for a job at the local steel mill. The mill is everything she was trying to escape, but it’s also her only shot at financial security in an economically devastated and forgotten part of America.

In Rust, Eliese brings the reader inside the belly of the mill and the middle American upbringing that brought her there in the first place. She takes a long and intimate look at her Rust Belt childhood and struggles to reconcile her desire to leave without turning her back on the people she’s come to love. The people she sees as the unsung backbone of our nation.

Faced with the financial promise of a steelworker’s paycheck, and the very real danger of working in an environment where a steel coil could crush you at any moment or a vat of molten iron could explode because of a single drop of water, Eliese finds unexpected warmth and camaraderie among the gruff men she labors beside each day.

Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Flatiron Books

What did I think?

I spent a couple days letting this book settle in prior to typing up my thoughts on it. There’s a lot to unpack here. It isn’t just a book about one thing. I mean, no one has a life with just one issue.

Eliese attended college and never expected to be working in the steel mill that dominated her hometown. So there’s a story there.

She also was raped at her extremely conservative Catholic University and they swept it under the rug. That’s a story too.

Finally, she discovers that she has Bi-Polar Disorder which is not only a story, it colors her entire life: school, work, and relationships. These three threads get woven together into one engrossing, relatable memoir.

If you liked the book Educated, and or Hillbilly Elegy, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

As always if you are buying books from Amazon, please use this link as it helps pay for this site.

Leave a Reply