Ken Jennings gets out his bullshit detector after telling his son that he shouldn’t run and eat a lolly pop because a tragic accident would ensue. He realised he got this from his mother and wondered if there were any basis to other ‘parentisms’ such as chicken soup for a cold, don’t eat cheese before bed because you’ll have weird dreams, running with scissors and not swimming for an hour after eating.
Ken digs through medical journals, interviews experts and tirelessly researches each parentism to gauge the level of nonsense. But if you are worried that this would be dry, you always have Ken’s humour to fall back on which is certainly up there in non-fiction humour with Mary Roach and Bill Bryson.
What is lacking compared to his other books is the geek charm. There are no long form interviews with weird people with weird obsessions. The short form of each section limits the charm factor.
While it’s harder to love this book as much as his previous two (‘Mapheads’ and ‘Brainiac’), it is still a funny and informative read that is top of my non-fiction reads for the year. So if you are a fan of Mary Roach, ‘Mythbusters’ or just a snarky 12 year old looking for material to come back at your parents with, get reading.