This is my third Mary Roach book ever, and I have read all of them in the past five months. I expect I will get to her others before the end of the year. Her books are funny, entertaining, interesting and clever. And, most importantly for me; pitched at exactly the right level. She is usually imparting some pretty complex stuff, but she manages to give just enough detail to be interesting, but not too much that she loses you in complexity.
This book is about the alimentary canal. We go through several subjects chapter by chapter, but I would estimate that a good half of the book is about farting. If, for any reason you do not like farts then this may not be the book for you. But then again, who doesn’t like farts? We all do them, and it turns out that they are quite interesting. So, you can read this book and the next time your spouse is grumbling at you for producing a noxious omission you can distract and impress them with facts.
Roach does begin the book on other subjects, though. We briefly discuss animals versus humans and our tastes, we learn about eating itself, the role of the nose, the importance (or not) of chewing, the fascinating world of spit, the stomach and it’s acids… then we move on to the intestines and we’re in the world of farts, followed, inevitably, by poo.
I would say this may have been even more interesting than the other two Mary Roach books I have read; very few of us get to visit space, and, although we will all die one day, nobody has ever made it back to tell the tale. We all eat and digest food so this should be of interest to us all. As ever with her footnotes, Roach wanders off-subject from time to time. Something I know some people (in my book group) find irritating but I quite like. I will not be reading anything from the bibliography, I feel that I am now enough of an expert on my own insides as I need to be and will view them with more respect in future as a consequence.