J.D.’s biological father. Mamaw and Bev claimed that Don was an abusive husband and a neglectful parent, a father who willingly abandoned the family. When as a teenager Vance reconnected with him, though, he heard a different side of the story: that Don had fought tirelessly to attain custody of J.D. during the divorce and that the only reason he backed off was because he worried the battle was negatively affecting the boy. Regardless of what happened, it was clear to J.D. that his father had completely changed—now he lived a quiet life with his new wife and children, a life organized around Christian evangelism. Because J.D.’s childhood lacked a formal religious presence, his father’s church greatly appealed to him. He even lived with Don for several weeks once when his mother decided to move away from Middletown with her boyfriend Matt, and though he enjoyed the peace of his father’s family and religion, he soon left them behind to go live with Mamaw.
The timeline below shows where the character Don Bowman appears in Hillbilly Elegy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...with his role as J.D.’s adoptive father. Sensing this, Bev encouraged her son to call Don Bowman one day, a suggestion that prompted J.D. and his biological father to slowly rekindle... (full context)