cover image I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World

I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World

Rachel Nuwer. Bloomsbury, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-63557-957-4

Journalist Nuwer (Poached) presents a thorough overview of MDMA and its place in contemporary psychedelic drug use and research. Popularly known as ecstasy or molly, and the drug of choice for raves since the 1980s, MDMA induces feelings of euphoria and empathy and has shown to be a possibly effective treatment for PTSD and alcoholism, the author writes. Nuwer, who used MDMA to help her cope with social isolation during the pandemic, takes a deep dive into the substance’s history, investigates its possible prosocial benefits, and traces attitudes and policies surrounding its use, including the discovery of its therapeutic benefits in the 1970s and its 1985 prohibition amid the war on drugs. Drawing on interviews with users and their families, researchers, and drug activists, Nuwer provides vivid snapshots of those for whom the drug was miraculous—helping some, for instance, to rediscover previously suppressed memories or more fully experience emotions—and those for whom it was deadly. While skeptics may question her reliance on some sources who advocate its decriminalization, Nuwer provides a nuanced, well-researched look at the drug’s “potential for both ill and good.” Following Michael Pollan’s groundbreaking exploration of LSD and other psychedelics in How to Change Your Mind, this will enrich the cultural, legal, and medical conversation around drugs. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich and Bourret. (June)