Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Methland by Nick Reding (CBR-IV #39)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #39/52
Published: 2009
Pages: 272
Genre: Nonfiction

I grew up in a super small town out in the country where currently a meth lab is busted approximately every few weeks. It's sad. I knew people who did meth and I knew people who sold meth. According to this book, when I was in high school was the beginning of the meth epidemic across small town America. It seems to have gotten much worse since I left my hometown eight years ago.

Methland follows the meth problem in the small town of Oelwein, Iowa. Reding paints a bleak picture of this town during the downturn in the economy: drug use is on the rise and employment opportunities continue to diminish. The town is literally on the verge of collapse.

I was hoping to get a background of the drug from this book and I thought the book did a good job of explaining how meth became such a drug of choice for the working class American. I always wondered why it seemed to be much more of a problem in smaller towns rather than large cities. It's actually pretty simple: Anyone can make meth. Literally. Apparently you can make it on your bicycle. You can have a meth lab in a car, a basement, or a hotel bathroom -- even a Walmart (not kidding. I read this in the news a while back. Some lady was cooking meth on a Walmart shelf).

However, the rest of the book falls short. It was actually a little boring in some places as the author gives way too many pages to characters that don't really need it. Such as the local town doctor. I understand that a small town doctor probably has some good insight on the town drug problem, but does he really need 50 pages talking about his family and personal demons? I didn't exactly pick up this book to read about an alcoholic small-town doctor and his issues.

It's a pretty short book, so if you're interested in the history of meth it might be worth a read. Just skim through the more boring parts.

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