Revisiting Gabor Maté

It's odd to me, but the stats are undeniable. Week after week, day after day, the search engine results keep telling me that people arrive at this blog in pursuit of assorted terms connected with Gabor Maté's book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. Some weeks it's as high as 80% of the search engine stats, with three or four of the top ten queries (though there's always something entertaining to break up the monopoly).

As I said in my initial post, which is STILL receiving comments and significant traffic nearly two YEARS after it went up, I'm not crazy about the book. I came around to what Maté was trying to achieve, and I'm appreciative and deeply respectful of his commitment to the cause of drug addiction, especially in Vancouver's suffering neighborhood Downtown East Side, but as a book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by turns annoyed and interested me - plus it's not as polished a piece of writing as I'm used to, but then I've been trained into snobbery no matter how much I resist it.

Some commenters to the post tell me that they're professionally angered or offended by Maté's approach, others that they find him to be the only person who's ever understood them. I don't have any perspective from which to judge these opinions - I'm a reader, nothing more. This counts for something, but only something, and I'm very much aware of that. Still, it's fascinating to me that so many readers of this blog are here for something about which I know so little, and about which I once simply mumbled some partly formed thoughts. I was talking mostly about literary form, not addiction, but Google maybe doesn't sort out details like that.

If you're here to read about addiction, and if the title of this entire blog is part of the reason you're here (Book Addiction), well, sorry if you feel misled. But feel free to stick around: you might like some of the other books I've been reading, too. Maybe try a "best of the year" post on for size, or an "everything I read this year" post, but thanks for stopping by even if it doesn't work out.


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