Salt of the earth people in an idyllic pastoral setting.
Juxtapose this with the harrowing, gory details of the crystal meth epidemic and you have Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town.
It’s a problem we somewhat comprehend due to the occasional headline-evoking mental images of skinny wound-up kids. Enter Oelwein, IA near Waterloo. Although, with the population of roughly 6000, and a tiny barbershop/greasy spoon Main Street, on the surface it could just as easily be called Eldridge, LeClaire, Wilton, or Maquoketa. For a time, Iowa was a national power in this citizen stopgap solution to high unemployment and corporate agribusiness.
Methland functions as a primer featuring real people of this cottage industry that operates out of backwoods trailers and gravel-road labs, letting the reader become intimately acquainted with the toothless, burned-up shells of former townspeople and the futile management efforts of local powers.
If you’d like a local nonfiction version of your favorite gruesome primetime CSI fare, here it is.