Well, I love Mary Roach and her books. I reviewed Packing for Mars for CBR III a few years ago, and I loved that too. I received Gulp for my birthday, but a backlog of books kept from getting to it for a few months.
While I found this book amusing and informative as always, I did not love this one as much as her previous one. While the human body is, as always, fascinating, it just didn’t inspire quite as much awe for me as did Packing for Mars. Also, she kind of spent quite a bit of time discussing the science between some really strange physical phenomena, but was maybe a bit too jokey about the suffering of the patients described (a guy with a hole into his stomach experimented upon by a doctor for years, exploding colons, etc). Those scenes mostly made me sad – it just seemed like a lot of suffering, although the conditions described are certainly interesting. My two favourite chapters are the two about the ones about making cat and dog food that is appealing to them, and the chapter about prison inmates and how they smuggle items into the prison. The prison chapter in particular made me giggle on a plane, laughing about the anal jokes. I guess I am still 12 years old.
The books was certainly good, but I didn’t love it like I did the space and death ones. I think part of it is that there isn’t that much mystique about the digestive system. Plus, Roach points out there are still a number of taboos surrounding saliva and other digestive issues, so maybe I was predisposed to not like it quite as much.