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

Methland by Nick Reding
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's review
Mar 26, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 18 to 26, 2012

A fascinating and thoughtful look at the good, bad, and ugly of small town America. The author uses his hometown, Olewein, Iowa, as his case study. He weaves together an interesting (albeit occasionally overly nostalgic) portrait of the micro (e.g., Roland Jarvis, Major, Reding's own family history) and macro (Big Agriculture, Big Pharma, immigration) forces at work in the meth-ridden parts of the Heartland. For me, the most compelling parts featured the meth addicts themselves -- their stories, battles, reasons, excuses. Roland Jarvis in particular serves as a cautionary tale that continues to horrify me. At times, the "meth epidemic" can seem overwhelming (what with so many loaded issues contributing to the drug's foothold), but Reding offers glimmers of hope throughout the book--hence, I suppose, the subtitle's "Death and Life" phrasing.

N.B. I listened to the audiobook version and it was well done, although some of the voices (like the doctor's) sounded a little caricature-y. That, however, is a minor quibble.

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03/18/2012 page 25
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