First off, I must admit to being a fan of Mary Roach, whose books delve into the eccentricities, trivialities, and the “have you ever wondered how” aspects of our human bodies. In this vein, Gulp dares the reader to boldly explore the splendor of what our bodies do to food from bite to bowel. Roach’s style isn’t to take any of this too seriously, or to drown the reader in arcane science; rather, she interviews experts in various fields or takes on the role of observer or occasional lab rat. All of this is infused with liberal amounts of tongue and cheek humor which is narrated in such a breezy, personal tone that I thought Roach herself was doing the narration. In the end, the reader won’t come away with anything close to encyclopedic understanding of human digestion but if that’s what you are looking for then Gulp is the wrong book for you anyway. Instead if you are looking to have a little info to go with your entertainment, and you don’t mind occasionally being a little grossed out (see the bit on tasters), Gulp may just leave you feeling a little awed by how your body works its unseen magic turning what you have eaten into what you are.
Goodreads reviewer and blogger... also dentist and wife/mom when I get the time!
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.
Narration is very good and Roach describes, using detailed research and graphic but appropriate language, a clinical context that is fasinating to anyone in the medical field or with interest in the digestive system.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Oh it was okay. I enjoyed the usual Mary Roach funny tone which is always the best part. It was for me pretty much a gross out experience but I knew that going in, so no fault of the author or book itself. I guess I was wanting something more, I'm not sure what, maybe if I could have felt a bit more informed, wait......I did learn one thing...or I thought I did... never mind, now I've forgotten. So I will chalk this one up to an easy fun listen, just not memorable in any way.
I thoroughly enjoyed the content as written. The delivery lacked.
The story, and the investigative aspect. Who looks for this stuff? Awesome!
The author. She has an obvious comedic tone that emily doesn't deliver effectively.
The greatest detraction was the narrator trying to mimic the voices of the various scientists. It sounded mocking even when it wasn't meant to. This is a really cool trip through digestion! I just wish I had time to actually read the book in my own way vs. this. Still love Audible!
Fantasy & Sci-Fi lover who mostly refuses to read books without their audiobook counterparts. How else can a girl get any housework done?
It was very monotonous. After reading all the great reviews and being familiar with Mary Roach's book, STIFF, I guess I had high expectations. Unfortunately, this fell flatter than flat. It was just....boring.
Not sure....something more interesting, I'm sure.
Tavia Gilbert. The best narrator I've listened to, so far.
Mary Roach has an inquiring mind, and while many of her topics are way off the beaten path, she always uses an approach of scientific inquiry with a quirkiness that's charming and funny and absolutely fascinating. Zeller's reading is right on the mark. As with "Stiff," the fascination factor far outweighs the yuk factor. What a great listen! And what a lot I learned...
This book was very interesting and had some funny bits. I certainly learned some things about the body and digestion. It was entertaining and informative. I found some of the anecdotes just a touch on the insensitive/judgmental side...a little compassion for the unfortunate people who made the record books with their unusual stories would have felt better to me, as a listener. If we must be voyeurs we can be compassionate voyeurs, no? Still an excellent listen; it kept my attention, gave me some laughs, and made me a little bit more informed. The narration was good (read: not annoying).
I'd hoped to learn some new things about how a healthy body works, but this was mostly a collection of oddities. There were some interesting moments, like learning that organ meats have more vitamins than vegetables. I think it was just a bad fit for me.
Mary Roach turns her attention to detailing what happens to food as it travels from our mouths to, well the other end!
Illuminating and humourous in parts, though at other times quite dry.
Personally I don't really like her chatty off hand writing style, though others may find this a plus.
She has a habit of describing what an interviewee is wering or the decor of their office. I don't really see the point of this, its just background noise to the real topic of the book.
Be warned, some of the content isn't for the faint hearted, but if you really want to know what happens to our food once we've swallowed it then you have to take the rough with the smooth.