I love Mary Roach’s books. She is smart, funny, and asks the questions we all want to know (sex in space: possible?). So when I saw a compilation of her essays, it seemed like the perfect thing to get my squirrel brain refocused for reading in the new year.
I shoulda read the fine print. Compilation of essays for Readers’ Digest. And clearly tailored for them.
The essays are generic and amusing. A combination of Erma Bombeck, Seinfeld, and Andy Rooney. (Almost wrote Warhol, there. Definitely not Warhol). They are noncontroversial. They are full of stereotypes (the man who thinks he can do home repairs but can’t), and at time downright sexist. (“Men understand engines. Women don’t.”)
There are occasional glimpses of what I have come to expect from Mary’s voice. The articles on Mad Cow and on cold medications have little nuggets to remind us that Mary is a Smart Girl, who understands Science and other Hard Things.
It’s not a bad read. It’s just like reading little bits of Readers’ Digest. So it’s bland, worth a smile and occasionally a chuckle, but ultimately forgettable.