Book Review: ‘Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal’ by Mary Roach

Mary Roach has written yet another winner here. Her early books “Bonk” and “Spook” were a little flat and derivative, but ever since then she has delivered.

Yes, she chooses deliberately risque subjects and yes there is always a chapter on farts, but damn she can make things interesting. It seems she can make the fine balance of making a scientist such as myself happy, while also placating my inner 8-year-old. And really, all she is doing by telling us how artificial farts are made, and the size of Elvis’ colon is saving us time; I know I’d be looking up articles to see if anyone has gas chromatographed a fart after reading this. Mary has already done the Not Safe For Work googling for us.

Mary’s books are great for everyone. You do not have to be a scientist to enjoy them, and you do not need to be an 8-year-old boy either. If you are a bit squeamish and delicate about bodily functions, read this, get over yourself and enjoy the wonderful piece of biology that you occupy.

So everyone, get out there and read some Mary Roach. You’ll laugh, learn, be amazed and there will be plenty of WTFs. May we have many more wonderful Mary Roach adventures!

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