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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.


  • Best Audiobook of 2023, Library Journal 
  • Winner of the 2022 Nautilus Book Award for Best Memoir
  • Finalist for the 2022 Indiana Authors Award
  • Nominated for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize
  • Starred review, Library Journal


“A timely and compassionate memoir that will appeal to anyone looking for connections and trying to bridge their own chasms.”
Library Journal, starred review 


“J.R. Jamison has written one of the most humane and challenging memoirs to come out of the Midwest. This is a perfect read to begin talking about all the conflicting, yet connected, issues forcing a reckoning for those who thought they knew what the world was, and who they were in it. 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. I’m so glad I let him guide me through the trip.”
— Ashley C. Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter and host of the HBO podcast Lovecraft Country Radio


“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. At turns powerful and vulnerable, J.R. Jamison takes the reader on a journey as profound and moving as the road trip he took with his father at the dawn of the Trump era.”
— Samantha Allen, GLAAD award-winning journalist and author of Real Queer America


Hillbilly Queer picks at the American cultural fiction of a monolithic heartland filled with stereotypical blue-collar people. Underneath the scab of his own childhood alienation, Jamison is able to rediscover nuance in what he’s left behind.”
— Foreword Reviews Magazine (selected as an “Editor’s Pick”)


“J.R. Jamison is a North American cultural leader who helps us confront today’s political polarization.”
– Arts Midwest (Minneapolis)


“A pure and thoughtful reflection of growth and identity.”
— Dive In Magazine (Seattle)