MixedThe Wall Street JournalShe [Mrs. Fallows] characterizes people and their communities in novel ways, reflecting on topics like rural radio, which offers up \'local crop prices and advice on pest control\' and entire stations \'dedicated to Willie Nelson, or Bruce Springsteen.\' Some of the best observations in the book are her snippets on regional linguistic quirks ... Mr. Fallows, by contrast, palpably fears the undeserved or uninformed generalization, and he hesitates to shed even the most minute details of a town’s history. Straining to accommodate as many proper nouns as possible, he lists and explains ... The only prominent figures in Our Towns are those with a motivation to advertise; the only conversations with ordinary citizens happen in the lines of ice-cream shops and grocery stores—and such encounters offer hardly enough time for people to share a serious critique of the town where they live. As a result, references to deeper matters are comically quick. The opioid crisis, present in many of the places the authors traveled to, earns only a few mentions ... Their optimistic, upward-striving America sometimes feels like a Potemkin village ready to tip over.