MixedUSA TodayThe conversational tone of what is essentially the Fallowses’ travel diary is recurrently dulled by the drone of data-speak, fact- and statistic-laden, that, while welcome in our fact-sketchy contemporary climate, makes for some arduous reading ... The good news is welcome. The bad news is a lack of dramatic tension. Any alternate narrative of dying towns still trying, or failing, to rehabilitate themselves largely gets lost ... There is a great deal of fascinating information leavened throughout Our Towns ... That the couple have collected them between covers is a noble achievement.
MixedUSA TodayMcBride does not lecture but he does preach. As a result his writing rings out with righteous passion. It also disintegrates at times, especially early on, into thickets of personal digression wrapped in conflicted mixed metaphors that underline his own initial ambivalence about taking money to write James Brown’s story in the first place. He does rediscover his resolve, though, and his writing revives ... Readers will be grateful for everything he has exposed here — the good and the bad, much of it hitherto unknown. Somewhere, even James Brown is probably saying thanks.