The first two nonfiction books I read this year are astounding. The first — Dopesick by Beth Macy, which I recently reviewed, — is about America’s opioid crisis and how the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma helped start it with its aggressive marketing of the opioid drug Oxycontin that many doctors overprescribed. The second I will discuss in this post. It was a shocking read and I’m sure my face was an expression of astonishment the entire time I read it because “How the hell was she able to get away with this for so long??”
Nonfiction – true crime; business; science
The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.
It’s the title that grabbed my attention, but I decided to read it after listening to an interview with Beth Macy on Longform Podcast in which she discusses working on this book and one of her previous books, Factory Man. Wanting something to listen to while at work, I took a gamble and decided to try the audiobook version of Dopesick.
My experience with audiobooks is hit or miss. It’s hard for me to pay attention to what’s being said much less recall what I heard. But this topic so fascinates me because it’s an issue I see in my community that I paid close attention to the narration. Plus, Beth Macy narrates the book herself and her slow, even tone helped to prevent my attention from swaying too often.
Nonfiction – politics, history, health, current affairs
Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.