In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate
(Disclosure: This book was received for free through the Goodreads First Reads Program)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mate brings his years of experience treating addicts, loads of scientific research on the subject, and his personal addiction together to produce a book that is highly readable and for the most part very informative. His narrative passages (at least half the book) provide case study after case study of real people he has known. That is when the book is its best: pointing out that addicts are people first and illnesses second. The portions of the book that deal with research data and scientific jargon can get a little dry, especially in comparison to the warmth he shows the people who have touched his life and made this book possible. Last, and certainly least, is his own message of addiction. I'm not sure if he was trying to make the book more attractive to more readers by including his addiction to shopping for classical music, but it's an unnecessary intrusion that comes across at best as a "it can happen to anyone" lesson that doesn't belong in a book of this depth.
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