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Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,296 reviews120k followers
November 2, 2021
When it comes to literature about eating, science has been a little hard to hear amid the clamor of cuisine. Just as we adorn sex with the fancy gold-leaf filigree of love, so we dress the need for sustenance in the finery of cooking and connoisseurship…Yes, men and women eat meals. But they also ingest nutrients. They grind and sculpt them into a moistened bolus that is delivered via a stadium wave of sequential contractions, into a self-kneading sack of hydrochloric acid and then dumped into a tubular leach field, where is it converted into the most powerful taboo in human history. [no, not wearing white after Labor Day]
If I had my own university I would see to it that Mary Roach received an honorary doctorate in Scatology. She does seem to have a predilection for investigating elements of human functions that would be considered indelicate in polite company. Of course, to my not-so-inner-Beavis, this is mother’s milk. (Oh, god, no. Is she going to look into that next?) So far, Ms. Roach, a science writer, has managed to process information and squeeze out books on dead bodies (Stiff), the afterlife (Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife ), some of the more personal elements of space travel (Packing for Mars) and sex (Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex). In Gulp, Ms. Roach looks into the details of how, during our corporal existence, we fuel the engines that allow us to scoot between planets or partners, and which make it possible to contemplate what should be done with our remains.

Mary Roach - image from The Reading Lists

Mary takes us on a lively cruise down the alimentary canal, which lies somewhere between Love Canal and Root Canal, but with more jokes. Really though, a canal is what we are. Stuff in, stuff out, and an increasingly complex control mechanism to make sure it keep flowing. Philosophy? Religion? Civilization? Whatever. Feed me. Let me poop and pee and the rest is gravy. Because, you know, if you can’t or don’t eat, everything else is moot. (Insert anorexic model joke here) If you can’t get rid of the final product, everything else is really nastily moot. So, while our trip with Captain Mary may lack the derring do of the good ship Proteus, (and the wooden leg of that other well-known cruise) it is a fantastic journey from here to there, and most definitely not back again.

As with any sightseeing outing, your tour guide will point out the structures along the way that are considered to be of interest. All ahead full and pay no attention to those white particles dangling from the tree roots along the side. We begin our look inside by examining how smell affects the way things taste to us. If you smell a rat, it might be because of its diet, of which more later. Our first stop is the nose, along with our sense of smell, which functions as the body’s TSA, with its own list of items that may not be brought aboard.


Hold on for a bit as the captain steers the boat into an unexpected cul-de-sac. While there, you will pick up some info on the food you get for your cats and dogs. Ok, backing out and here we are, looking at the appetite for organ meat in various places and cultures, what is good about it and how many of us consider it nasty. It is in this chapter that we discover that Narwhal skin turns out to be rather tasty.

Around the bend and down the hatch, Ms. Roach spends some time pondering the question of whether, like one jaw-weary fellow in 1903, we might believe that by chewing one’s food very, very thoroughly, one can gain greater nutrition from it than someone could by chewing it a more typical number of times. And while you are mulling that over, Roach goes poking into the strange case of Dr. William Beaumont, the researcher, and Alexis St Martin, his personal guinea pig, the proud possessor of an ill-healed and surprisingly non-fatal gunshot wound to the torso. It scarred up oddly and left the enterprising Doctor Beaumont direct access to Mister St Martin’s stomach. Let the testing begin, and go on and go on. Hey, come back here. I’m not done. For a feature length look at this, up that tributary on the left, you might poke your nose into Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont by Jason Karlawish. Next, Captain Mary points out the surprising relationship between spit and laundry detergent, actually between spit (there are two kinds, neither of which is called warm) and a lot of things, and why we like our foods to be crispy and crunchy. And if you were wondering if this little excursion included the risk of being devoured by large living creatures, Roach can fill you in on the odds of surviving inside a leviathan’s stomach.


There are plenty more sights to be seen on this journey, subjects like ways of eating oneself to death, the explosive danger of intestinal gas,
(“I know a case, this was fifteen years ago, where the man ate a huge meal and then took an inordinate amount of Alka-Seltzer.” [Dyspepsia expert Mike] Jones made an exploding sound into the telephone. It was like that Monty Python sketch, the Wafer-Thin Mint, where the guy is gorging himself and finally he goes, “I’ll just have this one wafer-thin mint…’”)

 Animated Gif on Giphy

and the booming field of flatulence.

(I bet you thought I was gonna go with the infamous bean scene from Blazing Saddles. I am much too classy for that. You will have to go there on your own. Just click this.)

And did you know that it was not only possible to ignite farts, but that there are some people who have flammable belches? I won't have what he's having.

Roach gets to the bottom of the practice known as keistering, and hooping. Prison is a likely lab for such research into the use of the rectum as a cargo hold. The storage capacity is impressive, to the point that one inmate was referred to as OD, as in Office Depot, for his hooping capacity, actually used for keistering office supplies. I’m not using that stapler.

And you will be amazed at how much of a rat’s diet consists of material that…um…emerged from the rat. So on spotting a certain rodent in Orlando, try to stop yourself from asking what it is in that taco he is toting. And you do not want to be downwind of that breath.

The colon comes in for considerable examination, and figures in a surprising theory for the cause of death of a king. She comes clean in a look at the history, reasons for and abuses of enemas. And, of course Mary lets loose when she gets the scoop on pooping. She even notes a chart that delineates the seven different types. You know you want to see it.

Bristol Stool Chart

Ok. Time to squeeze yourself off the boat. Be sure to tip the guide.

Roach always delights in reporting on names that are particularly apt.
my gastroenterologist is Dr. Terdiman, and the author of the journal article “Gastrointestinal Gas” is J. Fardy, and the headquarters of the International Academy of Proctology was Flushing, New York.
I suppose the academy might be better off in Richmond, VA, in the neighborhood called Shockoe Bottom, or maybe in Proberta, CA.

A couple of minor gripes. This book could really have used an index. And the chapter on feeding Spot and Fluffy, while interesting, seemed a bit of a digression from the main journey.

That said, reading Mary Roach is akin to the pure joy one experiences from things like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, with the benefit of knowing that there is no smoke and mirror involvement. Reality is soooooo weird. And we have Mary Roach to thank for refilling our occasionally dwindling mental storehouse of disturbing images, (You will never think of Elvis quite the same way after reading this book) and fascinating scientific facts, like the possible origin for the belief in fire-breathing dragons or the medical efficacy of fecal transplants.

There is never a doubt that Mary Roach will make you laugh and teach you things you never knew before. What could be better? Ok, I mean aside from the Blazing Saddles clip.

==============================EXTRA STUFF

Here is the full vid of the wafer thin mint bit, aka Mr. Creosote. Don’t even try watching this if you get queasy easily. It requires a very strong stomach or a very weak mind.

The May 2013 issue of Smithsonian Magazine features an article by Roach, The-Gut-Wrenching-Science Behind the World’s Hottest Peppers and there is another piece in that issue that may be of interest, Why You Like What You Like by Tom Vanderbilt. BTW, the articles are named differently in the magazine and on the web site.

Town Hall Seattle has an excellent audio presentation by Roach

Mary is interviewed on NPR

And in the New York Times

There is a wonderful interview with Mary on The Daily Show, a two parter. Here is Part 1 and here Part 2

Janet Maslin’s NY Times review

Although it shows a pub date of April 2016, this one appeared in my feed on July 19, 2018 - From - Poop Health: Is Your Poop Normal? Here's the No. 1 Reason to Check Your No. 2 - by Maria Hart - gotta love their take on the Bristol Chart, and no, it is not an image of a balanced daily diet.


Other Mary Roach books we have enjoyed
-----2021 - Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law
-----2016 - Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
-----2010 - Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
-----2006 - Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
-----2004 - Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Finally, inspired by the Bristol Chart, which is not at all related to The Bristol Stomp, and visits to US National Parks, I composed my own bit of classic literary poetry to express a grave concern among travelers.

Hiking Boot Maintenance

Be careful where you step
When you go walking in the dark
Because of all the people
Pooping pellets in the park.

Thank you, thank you very much.
May 6, 2015
I've finished the book. I'm left with the feeling that lies somewhere between TMI, an author's perverse, small-boy like joy in slightly shocking the adults by talking about farts and turds, and actually being interested in the transformation from a Michelin chef plate of food into, moments later, a disgusting saliva-covered bolus no one even wants to look at.

The book is punctuated with many small revelations that won't change my life in any way but are good to drop into a conversation for that OMG moment on someone else's face. Like, Elvis Presley died of constipation, the straining of which brought on a fatal heart attack. Poor man had been constipated all his life and never travelled without his Fleet and laxatives. Judy Garland and Lenny Bruce also died on the loo, but more mundanely (for celebrities) of drugs. Catherine the Great also died on the toilet in one version of her final exit. In the other she was crushed by the horse she was shagging. This isn't in the book btw. Just trivia I picked up along the way.

If you prefer to think that all that goes on beneath your skin should remain shrouded in a little mystery and want that aforementioned Michelin chef plate of food to remain in your mind as an artfully-decorated dish of delicate flavours, then don't read the book. Because it's not about the plate of food but the turd that comes out the end incorporating spit, bitter green bile and the slime of mucus and how it got that way. If you don't want to know all about that, then don't read the book. You won't enjoy it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

3.5 stars

135 reviews8 followers
August 25, 2013
I'm considering giving up on this book even though the topic is interesting. If only Mary Roach could restrain herself from quite so much levity. The jokes, asides, and snarky personal observations come on strong. They're constant, unrelenting, (somehwhat geeky humor) and are a distraction from otherwise fascinating material.

Her research is impressive and I appreciate her trying to make it not dry and clinical, but she goes overboard. Why do I care how pretty the scientists are, what they're wearing, or how the room is furnished? She has a rambling style and includes lots of irrelevant details, along with puns, apologies for the puns, and so many little wink-wink, nudge-nudge passages that it verges on dumbing down.

It's kind of like those PBS science shows about the complexities of the universe or time travel - or a Michael Moore documentary - where they incoporate lots of cartoons, sound effects, and nerdy jokes to lighten it up and make it more accessible to teens. A little of that goes a long way, however. I wouldn't care for dry medical journal reporting either, but it does a disservice to push it quite this far in the clownish direction.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,030 followers
June 11, 2013
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Roach truly is the funniest, best science writer I've ever had the pleasure to read. Her inquisitive mind doesn't always follow a linear path & the side tracks are illuminating.

"While a seaman might survive the suction and swallow, his arrival in a sperm whale's stomach would seem to present a new set of problems."*

*I challenge you to find a more innocuous sentence containing the words sperm, suction, swallow, and any homophone of seaman. And then call me up on the homophone and read it to me.
- Mary Roach in Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

Jonah got swallowed by a big fish? The above quote is in the part of the book discussing that. The good news is that whales have a fore stomach with no digestive juices. The bad news is that it is like a gizzard on some birds & crushes the food into manageable sizes. Sharks will also swallow prey whole, but their stomachs do have digestive juices & they do digest living prey as three sea turtles found out to their detriment.


Yes, much of the book was about gross stuff, but it was seriously interesting. We're basically an evolved digestive system. The alimentary canal is the core of the man-beast. It creates our energy & all the rest of the body is simply a way to spread the wealth & get a return investment to feed it more efficiently. We rely on (live for?) our gut & the sales pitch we're subjected to daily is full of misinformation & outright lies.

You think I go too far? The first third of the book is devoted to what we eat & why. Smell & taste are not processed by the frontal lobes of our brain. Did you know that people who lose their sense of taste & smell can actually starve to death because they can't swallow? It's that important.

Our body's sensors can get screwed up & we can develop bad habits, but it's often good to give in to a craving. I never thought much of food restrictions & never subscribed to any fad diets, thankfully. I always try to eat a fairly balanced diet of what I want & apparently that's pretty much a good thing since everything is working well & I've been the same weight since I was 20. Maybe liver tastes yucky to me because I shouldn't eat it. Yeah, I'm going with that.

Why do some diets work for some people & not for others? Apparently, each gut is as unique as a fingerprint. By the amount & types of bacteria in it, your family could be traced since Momma seeds yours. What you digest & how is also covered to some extent. This isn't a dietary book, though. There are no clear cut answers to the individual, but there is a lot of overall knowledge.

I never knew how much misinformation was floating about. The chewing fad of the early 1900's was disproved a century or more (Roach gives dates, I just have a bad memory.) before it was suggested & even implemented in some cases by our government, basically at the behest of a well connected con man. But that's just one of many cases she discusses throughout the book. Many are still in play today.

The stomach is amazingly ductile, but people can blow it up. Interestingly enough, it's never happened to a competitive eater. There are several sections devoted to this wondrous organ & its abilities. Really interesting chapters devoted to comparing what it can digest & how fast it moves food along, too.

The small intestine gathers most of good stuff out of what we swallow and the colon gets a little more plus the water, but it does some important digestion of its own. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't anything about the gall bladder, but my wife's problems with that organ taught us that it isn't considered part of the digestive system, even though bile is very important in the process. Be warned. Your stomach doctor might scope you through both ends, but they don't do gall bladders at all. It's like the step child of the digestive system. They just tell you to take Maalox & ignore it after that.

She also explores the similarities & differences between our digestive system & that of herbivores a bit. I didn't know that rats & rabbits processed their food for many vitamins in their colon (B's & K). Process, but not absorb. Whoops! This is why they HAVE to eat their own poop. (Bunnies suddenly aren't nearly as cute, are they?) They're severely stunted if diapered. More illuminating are the comparisons between us, gorillas (vegetarians) & monkeys.

Probiotics? The overwhelming majority are just marketing. The bacteria you need most are anaerobic (can't live in an oxygen environment) so you won't find them in a yogurt cup nor will they survive the trip through the stomach. There is a way to restore them, but neither the insurance nor pharmaceutical companies are happy with it. You probably won't be either, unless you're suffering from severe colon problems & changing your own diapers a dozen times a day. Two words: Fecal Transplant. It often works, too.

There are a couple of chapters devoted to farts. Gross! Yeah, but figuring out what makes them stop smelling would sure be nice, wouldn't it? I've been in a couple of elevators that I barely made it out of with my lunch intact. So some people study them, even make synthetic farts. Eating charcoal doesn't help - it's absorbancy is used up way before it gets to the colon where the smelly gases are generated. So just how do they deodorize them? Well, Beano DOES help with beans, but they've worked out some other ways, too. Unfortunately, no one will read about them in normal magazine ads. Those publications say the yuck factor is too strong. You can find out about them in this book, though.

There's another quote in the book about the anus being a marvel of engineering beyond man's technical ability in that it is able to handle gas, liquids, & solids on command with aplomb. (Usually, hopefully!) So calling someone an asshole is really talking them up!

This has gotten way too long, sorry. It's fascinating & I only touched a few of the high points. There's a lot of excellent knowledge here & only Roach's delicate touch could make it so readable, even at lunch time, about the only time I have to read during the spring.

I'd also like to tip my hat to Ed, Mary's husband. You're a lucky man, but you must have a great sense of humor & the hide of a rhino. Seriously, she explores whether or not he can kill her in the night with beer farts if she sleeps with her head under the covers! That's almost as bad as his trip to England in Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex where he got to spoon with Mary while a doctor used a sonogram to see how things fit together during coitus. Ed, you're a better man than I!
Profile Image for Robin.
1,434 reviews36 followers
February 1, 2013
This is a book not to devour, but to take in small bites, slowly savoring and digesting every funny phrase and interesting fact.

This is only the first reviewer to use lots of bad puns. Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Update: I simply adored this book and found it to be very tasty--OK, so maybe parts were nausea inducing but for the most part it was fascinating stuff.

And, please note my prediction that poop transplants are going to be the next big thing. Yup, you heard it right, "fecal transferences" are being done as we speak. Now aren't you glad you read this?

Oh, and one more: This book is bitingly funny in places. The footnotes are worth the price of the book.
Profile Image for Lilo.
131 reviews361 followers
June 29, 2016
If your body features a digestive tract, consider this book a must-read.

However, here are some caveats:

1) I strongly advise you not to read this book within 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

2) I strongly advise you not to read this book in any room used for cooking or eating (such as your kitchen or dining room). Instead—even though this might not be acceptable by some etiquette books—I strongly advise you to keep this book in the bathroom and read it while sitting on the john. (Your bathroom, more precisely, any room that contains a toilet, is not only the most appropriate place to read this book, it will also prove convenient in case your stomach should react to any contents of this book.)

3) I strongly advise you not to read this book while you have any stomach upset unless you have eaten something bad which you might wish your stomach to give up.

Provided that you adhere to the above heartfelt advice, I can only say, “Enjoy!” or rather “Bon appetite!”

After reading this book, I am confident that I am now more educated about the human alimentary canal than the average general health care provider. Mary Roach let me gain a lot of (literal!) insights. And last but not least, I am now happy to announce that my digestive tract is probably the best part of my body.

For a more profound and also illustrated take of this book, please read Will Byrnes review. Here is the link:
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews28 followers
October 21, 2018
Audiobook....narrated by Emily Woo Zeller ** and ** my Autographed copy by Mary Roach that I got from Mary the 3rd time we met in 2013.
I‘ve read “Bonk”, “Packing For Mars”, and “Stiff”....( my personal favorite). I own these ‘signed’ books and have thoroughly enjoyed her ‘book-readings’ and personal conversations.

Mary Roach is funny and fearless - totally a delightful human being - and must be the most famous brilliant-goof-ball science writer on the planet....[at least in the Bay Area she rules with her hilarious & informative science material].

As you can see I didn’t rush into reading *GULP*. And several years back when our local book club wanted to pick a Mary Roche book for a monthly discussion.... my vote was easy: “Any book BUT Gulp”....’please’. I was seriously avoiding childhood & adult unpleasant memories which I knew I’d re-visit.
Being born with a gut disease of my own - Hirschsprung’s Disease - still a daily challenge today - I wasn’t so sure I’d call reading *GULP* an adventure when looking at the Alimentary Canal.....(our digestive tract from our mouth to our anus).
I knew Mary Roach WOULD NOT CUT CORNERS OR SPARE US FROM THE *GROSS FACTOR*....just to be ‘appropriately dignified’. However.... I’m glad I finally read it ....(interesting enough as I write this I’m also having colon surgery tomorrow - biopsy & exploratory- that I’ve put off for at least a decade: to explore ‘new’ options)...for ‘my condition’.

There is a chapter in this book called “Up Theirs”.....the alimentary canal as criminal accomplice. The entire chapter gave me the willies - both listening to the Audiobook and reading my physical book and the *footnotes* (fascinating/ true stories tidbits).
Here is one example tidbit: ( about contraband smugglers):
“OVER A THOUSAND POUNDS OF TOBACCO AND HUNDREDS OF CELL PHONES ARE RECTALLY SMUGGLED INTO CALIFORNIA STATE PRISONS EACH YEAR”. I’m thinking....”Are you assholes NUTS? Try living with what I live with and you might not take your fucking rectum for granted like that”.

Given my worried squeamish thoughts about reading GULP - I was happily surprised that my stomach wasn’t churning the entire time. ‘was’ creepy knots at times, but I guffawed wholeheartedly, too. I studied digestive biology -
years ago in college.....
I don’t remember learning this much in the way of stinky details - about people - about animals - the function of bodily fluids - and many other taboo topics - to the extent Mary teaches us and certainly not nearly with anyone teaching with such INFECTIOUS ENTHUSIASM. She seemed literally excited telling us that the meals we eat -organic or not - are simply chemicals. Smells, tastes, food preferences, poop, the ins and outs of our intestinal track - Mary Roach was ALIVE - CONFIDENT - and totally in her element living - breathing - GULP-LADY...our spokeswoman on the digestive tract.

I already knew about Elvis Presley’s death by constipation - ( contribution of it anyway), way before GULP.... BUT NOT ALL OF IT. I ‘didn’t’ know that Elvis actually had Hirschsprung’s disease. Well- F#CK.... of course - makes sense. Why in the hell didn’t I figure that out myself YEARS AGO? This is a topic I know ‘too much’ about. I was born with Hirschsprung’s. But - unlike what Elvis suffered with - AND HE HAD TO HAVE SUFFERED - no wonder he turned to drugs - the impaction obstructed affected at least 50-60% of his colon. Wow! That’s a lot....and to think of all the years he lived with it ‘before’ he died. His life had to be a living hell - no matter how many fans he had.

With Elvis - it was never 100% certain if it was drugs or genetics behind his condition. They would have needed more information about his childhood.
This chapter was admittedly uncomfortable for me to read.
In most cases - Hirschsprung’s ‘does’ come from birth, (like me), .....but with Elvis and his lifestyle habits- it wasn’t clear.

GULP is packed FULL with information to digest. The research is top notch! It’s fascinating....and frightening.....yet Mary Roach delivers a wealth of knowledge with humor - wit - and charm.

Absolutely a close *TIE* for my favorite ( important) book written by Mary - with *STIFF*.....The Human Life of Human Cadavers

Note of caution: not to be read while eating a meal.

The AUDIOBOOK IS TERRIFIC.....BUT ‘with’ the physical book - it’s a great way to go.
Both have advantages.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
July 3, 2014
WARNING: Sometimes I have the mind of a 12 year old boy. Beware of reading this review if farts and bodily functions gross you out.

More like 2.5 stars

Mary Roach may have that mindset too. So far I've read books by her detailing what happens with dead bodies and more than you ever want to know about your Alimentary canal.

I love having random facts in my head. My husband hates that fact about me. This book added in a way in which he may never be the same again.
We tackle our bodies food from intake to outake in this book with several detours into what happens along that route.

Ms. Roach also enters into our prison system to learn how far your rectum can stretch. Hey, it's all about the science buddy.
For example:
The slang for the rectum is "prison wallet," but it could be "Radio Shack." An inmate was caught wit two boxes of staples, a pencil sharpener, sharpener blades, and three jumbo binder rings in his rectum. He became known as "OD," for Office Depot.

Facts I discovered during the reading of this book including the origin of the oldest stories of fire-breathing dragons-You gotta read it.

The fact that Elvis did die on the potty..and why.

The gases our bodies make could in fact blow up something in large enough quantities.

I'm sure I'll quote these and much more to my poor suffering family.
I'm blaming Mary Roach.

One more because I couldn't resist and you made it through the review:
Profile Image for Gretchen Rubin.
Author 42 books89.2k followers
April 3, 2020
Hilarious, informative. Roach has a very original voice and way of handling scientific information. I plan to read everything she's written.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,139 reviews434 followers
March 23, 2020
3.5 Stars

Not the most appetizing way to learn about the ins and outs (literally) of the hows and whys of what happens the second food enters our mouth to ultimately, its final destination but interesting enough.

Points for a well researched book, this was peppered with nuggets of history and bits of humor. I feel quite enlightened in all things digestion and for sure, am not at all hungry.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,802 reviews2,342 followers
April 6, 2013
Yes, men and women eat meals. But they also ingest nutrients. They grind and sculpt them into a moistened bolus that is delivered, via a stadium wave of sequential contractions, into a self-kneading sack of hydrochloric acid, and then dumped into a tubular leach field, where it is converted into the most powerful taboo in human history.

Welcome to Digestion 101 with your instructor, the lovely and talented, Mary Roach. Today's lesson is Everyone Poops! Now Get Over It!

This is the truly magical, mystical and messy journey of how food goes in one end and out the other.

Keeping in mind that in her last book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Roach devoted an entire chapter to pooping in space, so be prepared for loads of unpleasant, yet interesting facts you could have happily gone your entire life without knowing. Probably the best example is the distinctions between the "sausages" on The Bristol Stool Scale. Don't even get me started on fecal transplants. (Yes, there is such a thing, and after Roach's sounds like a perfectly logical and necessary procedure.)

If you can keep your squeamishness in check, you'll find that this is a hilarious, surprising, occasionally disgusting, and always amazing look at what goes on inside us all.
Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
839 reviews377 followers
August 17, 2017
You may be thinking, Wow, that Mary Roach has her head up her ass. To which I say: Only briefly, and with the utmost respect.

Oh golly gee, Mary Roach is fun! I read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers just yesterday, (or as Goodreads tells me, the summer of 2014. But that's basically yesterday.) And I really enjoyed it. 'Twas a fantastic mix of fun and science. Like Bill Nye meets Bill Schutt. Hell, throw in some Bill Murray too, why not!?

Bills bills everywhere!

Gulp was just what I wanted - first, it was informative! Did you know the Vatican once had to investigate: “Does rectal consumption of beef broth break one’s Lenten fast?” NO I don't think you did! Did you know humans like eating crunchy foods because we instinctively enjoy destroying things with our mouths? Did you know it's not only disgusting when rabbits eat their own poo, it's also nutritious? Did you know penguins can shut down their digestion by turning their stomachs into temporary refrigerators, saving their fishy leftovers for their kiddos? Did you know a group of penguins is called a waddle?

You won't learn that last one from Gulp, but aren't you glad you know it?

Second - it was funny! Were there some second grade poo jokes? Yes of course. This is a book about the alimentary canal, aka your digestive system from your pie hole to your poop shoot. Poo jokes come with the territory. Mary Roach does a good job of mixing highbrow, lowbrow, and nobrow? (is that a thing? fuck if I know) humor. All kinds of funnies that work with her writing style are sprinkled in.

Gulp will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about retronasal olfaction, "variety meats," saliva, whale gullets, gastric acid, President Garfield's farts, "the prison wallet" and Elvis's colon. You might be grossed out, as I occasionally was, but it was great science-tastic fun!

Profile Image for Lette.
5 reviews
April 21, 2013
I was driving and listening to NPR one Sunday morning and realized with glee that the author being interviewed was Mary Roach. I had read "Stiff" a few years ago and found myself drawn to her humor. When I drove past a local bookstore, I couldn't resist the urge to pull into the lot and listen as the author discussed feces transplants. Within moments, I found myself searching high and low for the new title, "Gulp".
After scanning all the usual places in the store, I finally asked an associate to direct me to the new book, only to have her type and study her screen, then point vaguely into a back corner of the store and dismiss me. At this point, it was a mission. Minutes later, I was back at the now-empty workstation, so I peered at her screen and saw that indeed there were supposed to be five copies of this invisible book somewhere in the store. I revisited all the tables and shelves again before finally giving up and finding a different employee.
Lucky for me, this person noted that I'd been in the store wandering around for about 30 minutes and joined me in my hunt. The book was released that day, and the trusted computer insisted that there were five copies somewhere. She got her manager and after much deliberation they polled yet another employee who didn't recall seeing the books either.
At long last a triumphant employee emerged from the back room with my beloved new book in hand! I was so excited, I immediately called my eldest daughter (she teaches High School Biology and Chemistry) to announce my treasure and promptly headed home to being my journey "down the pipe".

Profile Image for Francisca.
184 reviews82 followers
January 21, 2019
This is not my first review of one of Mary Roach books, but with each one I write, I become more and more convince she owns that particular shelf where books that are totally nerdy, highly entertaining and myth debunking sit, waiting for our eager eyes.

In this particular book, Roach centers her researching and fun-loading skills on our digestive system. From the mouth to the other end, the infamous anus, she tells it all.

Why are we repel by saliva that is not ours, or even by our own saliva once it's cold, but we can kiss a person in the mouth without a second thought (if we like that person, of course)? That is only one of the many questions Roach uses as an excuse to explain all the intricacies behind eating and surviving from what we eat.

Along the pages we travel from Elvis Presley's house, learning of his death and the bad hand his intestine dealt him, to Holland where a scientist, who always has lunch at home, explain how our stomach produces all the chemicals that turn food into its minimal components.

I deeply enjoyed this book, as I've enjoyed every other book I've read from Mary Roach. I have an almost sentimental attachment to her foot notes, often hilarious while illustrative, and I think that anyone with the slightest of naturalistic curiosity may enjoy this book, too.
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews127k followers
June 8, 2017
Did you know that the human infant enters the world without information on what is edible and what is not, and until they are around the age of two, you can get them to eat almost anything? Or that saliva could be used to pretreat food stains because of the enzymes it contains (the same enzymes are artificially manufactured for laundry detergents)? Or that one of the reasons we like crunchy foods might be because we have a destructive nature and derive pleasure from destroying things?

Mary Roach is a popular science writer, and her books are accessible and hilarious. Gulp is about food, eating, and the human body: the journey food goes from the moment it passes our lips to the moment it exits our bodies. An interesting and informative book that had me laughing out loud as I read. Don’t skip the footnotes.

— Jen Sherman

from The Best Books We Read In March 2017:
Profile Image for Monica Roy.
276 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2016
If you are a fact-loving nerd looking for an excuse to talk about poop more often, then Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach is the book for you! Each section of this non-fiction book covers a different part of the alimentary canal (AKA the digestive tract), starting with sense of smell, going into the mouth, and following it all the way down to its...conclusion, if you will. I have read three other books by the brilliant and awesome Mary Roach, and I was not disappointed by Gulp. I enjoyed this book because my husband and I listened to the audio version during our holiday travels, and we found ourselves laughing, gasping, and occasionally having to turn it off while we were eating (which is kind of ironic, no?). Though the book was a little graphic at times, I learned a lot about the human body that I didn’t know before. The structure of the book was easy to follow when listening, and the information was presented in a clear and humorous way. Another reason I enjoyed this book was because my husband and I could listen to it together: for the first time ever, he had asked me to turn on an audiobook when we got in the car! I recommend this book to anyone who likes to learn but loves to laugh, and for people who love to say to others, "Hey, did you know that...?"
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,861 followers
March 29, 2016
Mary Roach is an author I can always count on to deliver an amazing book. This time she tackles digestion.

Did you know that holy-water enemas were performed at exorcisms?!
If Jonah was really eaten by a whale, could he have survived?! What if it was a shark?!
What does your pet REALLY want to eat?!
What does it feel like to stick your arm into a fistulated cow's stomach?!
What does it feel like to get a colonoscopy without sedation!?
Is it possible to burst a human stomach?! Eat yourself to death by overfilling?!
Can constipation kill you!? Is that how Elvis died?!
She will explain SCIENTIFICALLY how dragon myths were invented.
Can you literally "knock the shit/beat the shit" out of someone!?

It's VERY interesting, you'll learn A LOT, and Mary Roach is - as always - funny, fresh, and fearless. She's a great author and a very entertaining one.

If you did read my status updates, you can see that at times this book can get pretty disgusting.
But there's also a lot of wonder and amazement and beauty in the book too. You will learn a lot and the world will make more sense to you after reading it.

Finally, I am going to mention some trigger warnings. I know there's a big debate right now over whether trigger warnings are just stupid and ineffective, but I think that if you are a survivor of any of the following: you might want to proceed with caution in certain chapters. While Mary Roach approaches everything with a kind of scientific glee, seeing everything with a "that's so cool, and disgusting, but in an awesome fascinating way" glow that is very effective and friendly most of the time can leave me cold when she's talking about people's lives.

Oh, and ditto on the animals. This book is nowhere near close to the horrifying animal abuse presented in STIFF, but I want to warn those who are sensitive to animal cruelty that there are some experiments on dogs and other animals discussed here that are disgusting. Again, a far cry from STIFF, but still something worth mentioning.

In NO WAY to I feel like Mary Roach is making light of anyone (or any animal's) suffering. I think she's pretty respectful and I can understand why she put the stuff in the book. But it is a very graphic book and people who have been through some shit might want to skim or skip. That's all. It still gets a 5 from me.

P.S. And you might not want to read this book while you're eating.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,861 reviews5,638 followers
September 1, 2016

The science geek in me practically peed her pants she was so excited to read this book. (I guess my inner nerd has a mild case of urinary incontinence but that is neither here nor there...) I mean an entire book about the alimentary canal, starting with my home turf, the mouth? Count me in!

Will you enjoy this book? Well, that depends on how you answer the following questions. Have you ever wondered:

If you can die from trying to defecate too forcefully?
Why do animals eat their own poop?
Could the Jonah biblical story have scientific plausibility?
Why doesn't your stomach eat itself until there is nothing left?
What makes farts smell so disgusting?
What is the purpose of saliva and why do babies make so much?
How to prisoners smuggle so much junk up their butts?

I loved every second of finding out the answer to these questions and about 1,000 more that I didn't even know I had. I enjoyed the refresher course on human anatomy and physiology and LOVED Mary Roach's humorous approach to science. You do not have to have a science background to adore this book. It is perfectly suitable for all audiences, particularly ones that don't mind a little potty humor.

The narrator in the audiobook was spot on: Funny, tongue-in-cheek, and pleasant to listen too. This isn't a character-driven novel or anything like that, so the narrator just had to read the book and read it well, and that she did! I listened to this book in about a weeks time and felt a little more informed each day.

Warning: Possible side effects of reading this book include forcing your loved ones (aka the husband, in my case) to listen to about a bajillion facts about pooping, burps, farts, and gas. In case you are wondering, he did not appreciate learning that information, the neanderthal.

Profile Image for Dawn.
239 reviews
September 3, 2016
From the author of the popular "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" comes this quirky and interesting look at the human digestive tract from, literally, one end to the other. Roach again writes about a somewhat squeamish, gross-ish, yucky topic that you didn't know you were interested in until she made you realize the subject matter is interesting.

Examples: 1) Did you know that most laundry detergents contain at least 3 digestive enzymes found in your saliva, to help break down food and grease stains on your clothes? Roach even goes as far as asking the experts why we can't just rub our saliva on stains to help get them out? (Answer: even the detergent scientists think that's gross and would rather use a Tide stain stick). Same goes with dish detergent; saliva enzymes are at work. 2) Roach interviews Elvis Presley's personal doctor. Did you know Elvis' colon was 2-3x the normal size? I won't spoil it here, but for you Elvis fans, a plausible and probable cause of his death is discussed between the author and his physician. Very interesting. 3) Perhaps the most intriguing (yet disgusting) thing Roach researches is the the study of fecal transplants to help those with diseases such as Crohn's and diverticulitis. I know your cringing if you're reading this but studies have found many patients are benefiting from this. Problem is it takes years to get approved. Roach predicts in 10 years that it will be common to know someone who has undergone a body fluid transplant of some sort to treat a disease.

This was a fun and fairly quick audiobook that was narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. She was did a good job. I love science and medicine and recommend this book to those of you who enjoy these topics, too.
Roach's eccentric and humorous wit and research style definitely has me hooked. I look forward to reading the few other books she has written as well. 4 stars.
Profile Image for britt_brooke.
1,288 reviews96 followers
August 3, 2018
“The slang for the rectum is ‘prison wallet.’”

Interesting, but gross, with a good dose of potty humor. I now know more about Elvis’s “super colon” than necessary.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,332 reviews436 followers
December 3, 2019
You know what would be amazing (or potentially disastrous)? A Mary Roach/Mark Kurlansky collaboration, preferably on some obscure topic. Can you imagine? The depth, breadth, and width of their topic would be so fully explored, we'd all be experts on the subject by the end of their book.

I love Roach's passion for whatever she's researching. She goes down rabbit holes and gets excited to try to tie her findings in with her main thesis, sometimes with success, usually without. Example: While researching why organ meat went out of vogue and then tried to make a comeback during WWII, she found some pledges about eating organ meat for patriotism. That segued into a discussion on the popularity of pledges up through the ‘50’s which then went into the scarcity of menfolk during the war and suggestions in domestic engineering magazines that suggested making baby clothes from old adult clothing.
Regardless, the end result is entertaining and informative. Even better, she writes conversationally, like she's at a party, relating her experiences to an interested audience, making her topic easy and fun to understand. That's sort of how this review will be structured, less as a review and more of me spouting things I enjoyed and learned.

I didn't learn quite as much from this book as I did from Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers because for reasons unknown to me, I'd already encountered a lot of the information in this one. However, that's not to say I didn't learn anything; at least 50% of the tales herein were news to me!

She starts this book with the assertion she wants readers to say, “I thought this would be gross but it’s really interesting.”
I didn’t think it was going to be gross. I love the journey of food, from the ground to the sewage treatment plant. I find our ingestion and digestion systems to be endlessly fascinating. One of my favorite topics of conversation is poop and I am always thrilled when I run across others who feel the same. Gabe is not one of those people, by the way. In fact, he hates it when I read books like this and he specifically hated this one because of the END. Ha ha ha! I mean because the last part of the book was all about the colon and getting waste out of the means of THE END! Ha ha ha!

Roach starts at the top, with the nose. I actually learned about smell being taste when my dad lost his sense of smell, thus, most of his tastery, in a plane crash. There have been some amusing stunts pulled at Christmas dinners focused on his inability to smell and, thus, taste. Throughout this part, I got to be all smug and stuff, telling myself, "Yes, yes. I know this! Ha ha! I am very smart."

But I want to argue about cats and their taste buds. She posits: Cats are more or less monoguesic meaning they stick to one food. Outdoor cats tend to be either mousers or birders, not both. - I don’t think this is true, based solely on anecdotal evidence to the contrary. I know and have known cats who like just one type of prey but I've known just as many who like multiple types of prey. And then there's Evie who thinks blood is gross so she brings me all her prey, still alive and freaked out. There's a lot of catch-and-release that goes on in my house.
Roach also says: Cats, unlike dogs and other omnivores, can’t taste sweetness Except Toki. He has a terrible sweet tooth. If it's sweet, he wants to eat it. His favorite sweet treat is anything lemon-flavored. He doesn't like lemon on its own or on chicken or on vegetables but if there's lemon frosting, lemon cake, lemon cookies (he thinks the lemon Girl Scout cookies are the best), lemon filling, lemon ice-cream, anything that's lemon+sugar, processed or home-made, he wants it and we fight.
I clearly need to become a scientist of cats' food habits because I have research that needs doing and theories that need disproving.

Here's a truth I have proven to myself time and again: Research has shown that if people try something enough times, they’ll probably grow to like it. That’s why I like kimchee, retsina, and bitter tea. However, it doesn't always work. I still don’t like beets, coffee*, liver, or lima beans.
*except coffee with chicory. Something about the chicory dampens the coffee taste.

Also, if I have to drink coffee, I make sure it’s 1 part coffee, one part milk, one part sugar, and alcohol if I can get it. I really do not like the taste of coffee, despite trying it regularly.

Now we’re talking about spit! This is so fun.
Spit enzymes are used in detergents and in art restoration.
She missed a golden opportunity here, though. She never discussed mothers spitting onto tissues/their fingers/handkerchiefs/whatever and then applying said spit to a child's face. I'm pretty sure there should have been, at least, a paragraph devoted to the practice.
Roach says it’s socially unacceptable to taste your own spit, as in spit it out and then drink it on purpose. I remember doing that as a kid, though, because I wanted to know if my spit tasted like something. See? I've been doing this alimentary canal stuff all my life!

Fat is the main carrier of flavor - hmmm. Now it makes sense why fat is so appealing and why we use oil. I love this! I love how everything is linking together!

Human bites aren’t as detrimental as rumored when you bite other humans. However “Fight Bites,” knuckle contusions brought about by socking someone in the mouth, do get infected not because of spit but because hands don’t get a lot of blood flow so the immune system has a harder time delivering healing stuff to that area. Ditto ear cartilage. Also, fight bites can lead to arthritis. Note to self: Don't punch people in the mouth unless there's hand protection involved.

There’s a whole section on why crispy, crunchy food is satisfying. We associate crunch with fresh, like apples and carrots. Mushy fruits and veggies mean they’re rotting and rotting foods make us sick so we don’t like mushy stuff.
I don’t know if I agree with this, though. I think there needs to be more research into this area. I'm not going to be the one to do it, though. I'm going to assign this to my BFF, Tina. Her love of crispy, crunchy food is ridiculous and I think she needs to find out from whence stems this obsession.

I think we're skipping the esophagus. If there was more than a mere mention, beyond choking hazards, I missed it, which is a shame because the esophagus is a weird animal and more people should know about it.

We're onto the stomach now! Digestion central!

Ooh, I feel so smug knowing about hydrochloric acid. I used to use it for tanning leather. It’s much less corrosive than other acids, but man it smells weird, super gross when it's on your skin. Did you know that if you don't have a vat of hydrochloric acid handy, you can use human female pee? Human female pee has a higher concentration of ammonia and...something else so can also be used to make leather. I never did that because I didn't feel like peeing in a vat. I didn't learn that from this book, I learned that when I learned to tan hides and, before that, in second grade when we learned about American Indians and how they stuffed animal skins into tree stumps that were filled with rotty tree stump water OR how they peed on the hides in order to cure them.

I am a bit alarmed at the amount of fistulated animal stomachs in this book, humans' included.
Just like The Bloggess, Roach had to put a full-length arm glove on and stick said arm into a cow. Roach put her arm into the rumen of the cow, though, instead of its vagina, via a fistula with a window. Still, how many books have you read recently that had someone gloving-up and then going shoulder-deep into a cow? Wait. I don't think I want to know the answer to that.

And now we're going for the gut! Intestines!

OMG! Your butt can blow up badly enough to kill you! That’s awful! A French dude blew up during a colonoscopy.
Bwahahahaha = As anyone who has typed pyroflatulence into YouTube search is aware… Wait, let’s do that and see the results. Here you go!

Finally, we get to the poop of the matter. Pee, too, of course, but poop is more fascinating. For instance, there was a dude who felt putting a warm kitten on your stomach would help break up constipation. I think this is probably the reason but she says nothing has been proven one way or another and that, more than likely, a warm kitten snoring on your stomach is relaxing and you can finally stop clenching so hard and let the poop flow.


No, seriously, though, I had so much fun with this book. I'm going to listen to all her works. And then I'm going to marry her so I can take her to parties and she can do all the talking and I just have to listen and not be involved.
And I really do want her to write something with Kurlansky because OMG, that info dump!
Profile Image for Tudor Vlad.
327 reviews73 followers
July 26, 2017
Not as good as Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, nor as informative. It focuses a bit too much on entertaining the reader and less on informing. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but I don’t really find jokes about feces and the holes it can come out of that amusing. There were also some parts, by the end of the book in which I could feel the author trying to gross me out despite her saying at the start of this book that she will treat this subject with respect and not try to disgust the reader. Maybe I’m just too squeamish.
Profile Image for carol..
1,537 reviews7,880 followers
March 28, 2015
While reading, I was reminded of long-ago biology studies, and the simplest members of Animalia that are little more than a gastric tube composed of cells. It’s astonishing, really, those primitive forms of waterborne life, and it emphasizes an interesting thing about animal anatomy, that we aren’t a solid, discrete, bounded organism: the environment moves through us as much as it moves around us. We like to think of “inside” and “outside” our bodies when in fact, it’s much more complicated. Those familiar with the gastrointestinal system (“the GI tract” in medical slang) understand that as a system rather continuous with the “outside,” it is one of the least sterile parts of our anatomy (the case could probably be made for skin as well). Perhaps that is why there are so many taboos surrounding what we eat, how we eat, vomiting, farting, defecation and such–all those different ways we interact with our environment. Gulp. Adventures on the Alimentary Canal explores the GI tract and its unmentionables in an engaging way that is somewhat limited by basic scholarship.


Further criticisms at:
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,186 followers
May 21, 2013
Who could have imagined that a book on the alimentary canal could be this much fun? Mary Roach has written an absolutely delightful book on the subject. She writes with such wit that even the most obstinate learner couldn't help but enjoy this book. Many times I simply busted out laughing; this is probably the funniest scientific book I've ever read. If learning was always this amusing and fun, no child would ever hate going to school.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,555 reviews93 followers
January 30, 2016
Mary Roach is no stranger to delving into topics which others find icky -- like corpses. Even her more conventional works flirt with taboo, and in Gulp she embraces disgust whole-heartedly, by treating readers with iron stomachs to a discussion of all things digestive. Gulp is not, strictly speaking, a book about the digestive system. Instead, it's a history of the odder means scientists through the centuries have fashioned to study it, though some of the questions themselves are startling enough (how many cellphones can you pack into a rectum?) Its intent is more entertaining than educational, but readers will glean an understanding of how our body works regardless, and perhaps learn more than they wished they knew. The body's own structure gives Roach an organizational structure her other books might lack: her record of experiments follows the 'alimentary canal', an older name for the digestive tract, from our tongue right through the intestines and out the other side, pausing for a great many fart jokes. Roach is definitely a 'popular' science writer in that she writes for the lowest common denominator, appealing to as many readers as can be possibly found who are willing to read about spit and constipation. This is not a work that takes itself seriously; it is disgusting, funny, and informative in that order. Largely entertaining, but a touch on the gratuitous side.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,658 reviews1,692 followers
June 5, 2013
When I read Packing for Mars two years ago, I was very vocal about how my favorite chapter was her detailed exploration of pooping in outer space*, so it was with much excitement that I realized her next book, Gulp (subtitled Adventures on the Alimentary Canal) was about the science of eating, digesting, and yes, excreting. Maybe you think that's gross, and if so, to you I say THIS.

*Seriously, if you're not going to read the whole book, at least read that chapter. She includes a transcript where astronauts see one of their turds floating around, and they're all, 'It's not mine!' 'Mine was more gooey!' 'Mine looked like a snake!' or something like that. It's amazing.

I did indeed learn way more about pooping (and not pooping) in Gulp than I had bargained for. I also learned about saliva and parasites and exploding stomachs and how smelling is more important to eating than tasting and how Elvis was really killed by his colon (Roach has great personal interviews with experts that accompany each of these things, including one with Elvis' doctor). Also: how some people think the dragon myth was started because of cavemen kicking snake corpses close to a fire, which might have caused the explosion of other dead animals being digested inside the snake, releasing a gas that then burst into flames out of the snake's mouth (this was in one of the chapters about the science of farting -- yes there is more than one). Also also: poop transplants are a real thing.

Actually, I want to talk about that poop transplant thing some more because I think it's the perfect example of what Mary Roach is all about. Poop transplanting -- or as it's known in the medical community, fecal transplantation -- is actually a really beneficial procedure, although it sounds majorly disgusting. The human colon is a veritable colony of bacteria, most of it beneficial to our digestion and immune systems. When that balance is upset by something, like a large dose of antibiotics for example, or if a person is born without certain bacteria (fun fact: babies get most of their bacteria from their mother at birth) diseases or disorders can result. The example she uses is the common bacteria c. diff, which in the case of the patient she observes, has taken over his colon due to an absence of other more important bacterias. Poor guy's had basically nothing but diarrhea for YEARS. But after his fecal transplant? The proper ratio of bacteria is re-established and his digestive problems are cured in a matter of days.

And yet, as Roach is careful to note, the medical community does not take this procedure seriously, in large part due to the taboo surrounding its subject matter. No insurance company yet recognizes the treatment as valid, and it's extremely hard for doctors and scientists to get funding. Also a factor is that drug companies do not enjoy the idea of a procedure that does not involve drugs, and that in fact, removes the possibility entirely that drugs will be needed by patients in the future. But Mary Roach loves this stuff, the stuff nobody wants to think about, and she loves the people who spend their lives asking questions and doing weird experiments just like this one, because she understands that we need people like the guy who invented poop transplants to think outside the box. If they're not doing it, who the hell will?

I suppose it will be another two years before we get the next Mary Roach book, but I'm willing to wait if she's willing to keep writing books like this one.
Profile Image for Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett.
587 reviews29 followers
December 20, 2013
I'm a big fan of Mary Roach's books, and that said, this is her best. I'll admit straight off that this opinion is deeply influenced by the very fact of my chronic inflammatory bowel disease; for one thing, I am well beyond the squeamishness and taboos that this subject matter may induce or cross. Digestion, food's long journey through the bowel, and the composition and frequency of "release" are very conscious parts of my daily life. To read Roach approach such familiar and usually off limits subject matter with her characteristic wit and charm was incredibly refreshing.

And boy, is Roach funny in this book. Whether it's reading one of her many amazingly interesting and clever footnotes, or just chuckling at Roach's INCREDIBLE luck at continuously finding doctors and specialists whose last names seem to DESTINE them for work in digestion, this book is a joy to read at every turn.

Finally, just a short encomium for Roach. I love reading her books because she's a good writer of course; but what MAKES her a good writer is her endless curiosity for and awe of the world around us. She is the very best kind of intellectual because there is a naked honesty in her curious searching. And her findings are never twisted or pruned to fit an a priori ideology---rather, we get what she gets when she asks the questions we're all praying she will, the ones we'd love to have the guts to ask. Ha!
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
March 29, 2013
Entertaining science, wish she had been my chemistry teacher in High School instead of the monosyllabic Mr. Worth, who I unfortunately had. Some of this is boring for sure, but some is just fascinating, some is oh so gross, but some is interesting and humorous to boot. Did you know they actually have a poop website? Who knew. There is also a section in this book about pet food tasters for all the pet lovers out there. Amusing informative and gross how can one lose? ARC from publisher.
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