Madlands: A Journey to Change the Mind of a Climate Sceptic
by Anna Rose
I’ll admit it. I started reading this book with a bit of scepticism. Not because I disagree with the concept of climate change—far from it—but because I wasn’t sure how a book about the journey to change someone’s mind could in any way be meshed coherently with climate theory.
My first impressions of the book were good. The writing style was fluid and the different terms were explained in an understandable, non-patronizing way (which is a problem for a lot of reads in this general genre). I wasn’t prepared for the semi-autobiographical nature of the book, though perhaps I should have been. It was nice to break from climate theory every now and then, though I felt a lot of it was used as filler, but again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! In fact, a number of instances (such as planning a wedding using Google docs) had me actually chuckling, and let me engage with the author.
The use of graphs (which I had been looking forward to) was meshed into the book fairly well. Due to the flow of writing, the graphs were often on different pages to the place they had been referenced from—usually also after the story had moved forward slightly. I felt that while they were visually pleasing as a method to break the text, they could have—for the most part—all been put in an index in the back of the book. I did find myself actually studying the graphs and charts, however, which shows how engaging (okay okay, and simple enough for even me to understand) they were.
I just want to talk very briefly about who this book is aimed at. Primarily because I’m not sure of the answer myself. In a lot of ways, the book seems to appeal to a wide variety of people, all of which can be huddled together under the wide heading of ‘people interested in climate change, whether they believe in it or not’. Do I think the book was trying to target too wide an audience? Not really—its seeming determination to have a wide appeal is probably the reason the flow of writing was made to be so accessible (and the more scientific terms were explained so well).
Overall, I really liked this book. The writing style was nice, the facts were put forward in a very interesting way, and for the most part, the different elements of data, journey, and biography were weaved together in a complementary, coherent manner. As I mentioned before, I don’t feel as though I could describe an ‘ideal reader’ for this title, but I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is interested in both Climate Change and the people who are passionate about what it’s doing to our planet.
A self confessed tea-and-book addict, I’ve always been a ‘Jack of all Trades’. My hobbies range from cycling, to woodworking and participating within the theatre. My passion for the written word led not only to postgraduate degree in English, but also to becoming the volunteer director of the non-profit publishing house Inspired Quill. I love my day job (shockhorror!), where I work as the Marketing Manager for the ethical investment Platform ‘Ethex’, here in the UK. (I also hold the belief that ‘to-do’ lists breed when you’re not looking).