In What's Eating You? Eugene Kaplan recounts the true and harrowing tales of his adventures with parasites, and in the process introduces readers to the intimately interwoven lives of host and parasite.
Kaplan has spent his life traveling the globe exploring oceans and jungles, and incidentally acquiring parasites in his gut. Here, he leads listeners on an unforgettable journey into the bizarre yet oddly beautiful world of parasites.
In a narrative that is by turns frightening, disgusting, and laugh-out-loud funny, Kaplan describes how drinking contaminated water can cause a three-foot-long worm to burst from your arm; how he "gave birth" to a parasite the size and thickness of a pencil while working in Israel; why you should never wave a dead snake in front of your privates; and why fleas are attracted to his wife.
Kaplan tells stories about leeches feasting on soldiers in Vietnam; sea cucumbers with teeth in their anuses that seem to encourage the entry of symbiotic fish; the habits of parasites that cause dysentery, river blindness, and other horrifying diseases--and much, much more. Along the way, he explains the underlying science, including parasite evolution and host-parasite physiology.
Informative, frequently lurid, and hugely entertaining, this audiobook is a must-listen for health-conscious travelers and anyone who has ever wondered if they picked up a tapeworm from that last sushi dinner.
©2010 Eugene H. Kaplan (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
Fantasy and Romance Author
This book made me shudder, cringe, and occasionally laugh out loud at some of the anecdotes related by Professor Kaplan.
Definitely not a book for the squeamish--I have a fairly high tolerance for gore and ick, as some of my other non-fiction selections will testify, but some of the anecdotes in this book really pushed my limits. Now, I never want to visit Africa or South America, and I haven't been able to face raw sushi for a couple of weeks now! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!
So, in short, this book delivers exactly what it promises--hair-raising and stomach-turning details of various parasites, but it's definitely not a comfortable read. For the strong of heart--and stomach.
Dr. Kaplan does an excellent job of communicating his passion for this subject. You can tell he just loves talking about parasites. Though he is obviously trying to write a book to make the reader smile and even laugh, he doesn't skimp on hard information. If I were forced to find one shortcoming in the book it would be the author's emphasis on the "ick factor" inherent in the subject, and the only reason I object to that is that as a biology geek my own "ick factor" tolerance is extremely high, so his attempts to entertain by the "gross out" often falls flat for me. However I realize that many of his readers, particularly young ones, this would be a plus. The narrator also does a great job of communicating the author's enthusiasm.
The book gave a good overview of the kinds of parasites that are out there ready to feast on those who do not take them seriously.
The author. As a person who studies parasites, he has been himself exposed, and described his personal experiences with a number of parasites.
Nothing stands out, which is probably a good thing.
They're coming to get you!
I had mentioned in my title that the style was a bit odd. By this, I was referring to the book beginning in an outline kind of style, rather than a narrative, but I soon stopped noticing this as I became fascinated with the content.
Addicted to books in all forms.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Both the author and the writer seemed to be truly passionate about the topic of parasites and I loved that style. That is the reason I gave them 5 stars overall despite agreeing with one reviewer who stated that it would appear the professor was stuck in the 50's. There were a couple of comments that walked the sexist line, but it was not blatant enough to turn me off from the book.
The book is for anyone who has ever traveled and wondered what you could have picked up. I don't recommend it for anyone who finds themselves with the symptoms they read about.
In the end this book is not going to help you pass any Biology exams, but if you're looking for a quirky entertaining and still educating read, try this one!
I would ike to see this author take the writing further. He made haveing a pencil size worm come out of his leg sound bland. This is where most adults want the real guts of a story. What did it feel like pulling his pants over it, where was it on his leg? Did he need to hide it under his clothes? Was he dating or married? If these experiences were fleshed out it would leave the dull classroom and move into the adult reading arena.
Online Grad Student, I prefer audiobooks to bound books. Preferences: history, disasters, Preston/Child, Lee Child
The author is a parasitologist, so he knows of what he writes, but he does so in a way that is disjointed and choppy; moving from one species to another and then back again, with concurrent gory stories to match each species.
He must have written this book is his twilight years, as all the experiencial references he makes are dated, like describing his childhood in Brooklyn soon after WWII, coeds giggling and looking for boys to kill spiders, doctors who make housecalls, and housewives, yes he calls them housewives, contending with children who eat cockroaches. Either this book was written in the 1950s or the author still thinks he's living there.
I wish the book were more serious or scholarly. It seems to reach for the lowest common denominator on the gore factor and fly beneath the radar of more informed listeners.
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