Opioid, Indiana

Brian Allen Carr
Apr 29, 2020

After finishing Opioid, Indiana, I immediately wanted to read it again. Even though it's a fairly short book, Brian Allen Carr handles the difficult subject matter with so much insight and empathy that I was disappointed I didn't get to spend more time with all the characters.

Seventeen-year-old Riggle lives with his uncle in rural Indiana after his parents passed away years earlier. When Riggle gets suspended from school and his uncle disappears on a drug binge, Riggle must spend the week looking for him before the rent comes due on Friday. He interacts with several unique locals along the way, finding both a job and some direction in an otherwise aimless small town existence.

This book has the feel of American folklore, each day beginning with a myth Riggle's mom used to tell him about how the weekdays were named. As he travels around Opioid, Riggle ponders a variety of small town issues, from poverty and addiction to Confederate flags and school shootings. Yet he does so with such humor and resilience that it doesn't leave you feeling discouraged. Much like the snowy Indiana landscape he describes, Carr's novel is both bleak and strangely hopeful. It is definitely one I will read more than once.

Reviewed by Library Staff