If there is one book that personified the demographic who become crucial in the 2016 election, it’s J.D. Vance‘s “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” The author’s tale of seeing the Rust Belt fall into social and economic ruin as jobs left and the economy cratered resonated deeply with the demographic that voted for Trump, so much so that Vance has been called the “Trump whisperer.” Now that story is headed for the screen.

Ron Howard will direct the adaptation of the book, which tracks Vance’s journey out of his troubled surroundings, aided by his grandmother, who encouraged him in his academic pursuits. Here’s the book synopsis:

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

For a book and author who has become part of the political conversation, it’ll be interesting to see how the usually unpolitical Howard takes on the material. Presumably, it’ll just be spun as a standard rags to riches tale, but if he does take a sharper angle on the source, perhaps it could mark something unexpected from the filmmaker. [Deadline]