Margie's Reviews > Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

Methland by Nick Reding
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's review
Jun 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: society
Read in June, 2012

Sort of a hard book to rate. There's good information here, and I respect Reding's attempt to cover the entire scope of the meth epidemic, from Big Ag in the heartland to Big Pharma in Congress, to politics and NAFTA, and including the psychopharmacology of meth in one's brain.

At the end of the epilogue Reding writes about how he spent a great deal of time traveling around from small town to small town, collecting interviews and stories, and trying to find a locale or thread that could serve to tie everything together. He chose Oelwein, Iowa. And he got some good stories there; the mayor trying to reinvigorate the economics of the town, the doctor dealing with the physical ramifications of the epidemic, the county prosecutor whose girlfriend is a social worker, and the meth addict who blew up his mother's house cooking meth.

But the book is about more than just the small town, it's about the bigger picture, as well. And that dichotomy is where the book falls down, just a bit. It's a good book, but in trying to cover so many angles it loses some threads. Worth reading, though. It's not a mess, nor difficult to follow; it simply could have been better.

As I read the epilogue about him trying to find the thread or locale to tie everything together, I thought, "Well, that's the problem, isn't it? You've got a whole lot of info and story. How do you make it work as a book?" He's made a valiant attempt.

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