I liked this more than that review title implies, but I was frustrated by the inconsistent tone and structure of this book.
I like a good “random facts barely strung together” or “fake q&a” style book a la the imponderables series, the bathroom readers, or “what Einstein told his chef.” I also enjoy a good medical narrative. I like case histories, especially in service of a greater overarching theme.
This book was all of those and none of them by not picking a strategy, and suffers for the indecision.
That said, the content outshines the execution; even when I was confused about what story belonged to whom as one topic bled into another, I enjoyed the ride, learning about the ways our body is still a mystery, particularly in the interplay of its systems, even if a lot of it wasn’t a surprise.
Hamblin is an engaging writer with an excellent sense of the human element in each bodily system; there’s never a danger of textbook detachment even in the driest passages. I enjoyed reading the book; it was informative and entertaining, and I’m upset it was misplaced on my trip. I just wish he’d apply a touch more rigor to his structure.