Wonderfully Gross – “Why You Should Store your Farts in a Jar & Other Oddball or Gross Maladies, Afflictions, Remedies, and ‘Cures'” by David Haviland
(When I received my copy of this book for review, I burst out laughing in the middle of the street at the title. My husband can attest to this, and also to the fact that I giggled for the rest of the two block walk home.)
Make no mistake, this book is as gross as it’s title suggests it will be.
It’s also strangely wonderful and undeniably interesting.
When a book opens with an explanation of how crocodile dung was once used as a contraceptive device, you know you’re in for something unusual.
This is the most recent book in David Haviland’s successful series of books focusing on answering questions about bizarre subjects. The previous books all have equally wonderful titles; “Why Dogs Eat Poop…,” “Why you shouldn’t eat your Boogers…,” and “Why Fish Fart…” Haviland clearly knows his niche, and seems to relish the opportunity to enlighten the world to the less savory sides of human and animal biology and history.
This book focused more on the medical world, with topics including gonorrhea, the medicinal value of eating mice, organ theft, and elephantitis of the testicles. Trust me, it gets more gross than those, but I’m being delicate in writing this review as to not offend any delicate sensibilities. There’s also some fascinating bits about revolutionary doctors (including one who was a woman who spent her life masquerading as a man!) and unusual treatments for diseases. Oh, and Jack the Ripper. What’s not to love about that?
I’m not going to lie, I read this book with unabashed joy, and in the process I truly feel I learned a lot. Granted, I’m not sure when the information I learned will ever come into play (How many times a day does Hitler’s potential Crystal Meth addiction come into play?) but it’s still all interesting to know, and certainly fun to read, thanks to Haviland’s ability to be both educational and whimsical at the exact same time. He keeps things snappy and brisk, with rarely more than one or two pages devoted to any of the questions.
There’s probably a question or two in this book you’ve always wanted to know the answer to – but have been too embarrassed to ask. Do yourself a favor and read this book to find out that answer, and then some.
“Why you should store your farts in a jar” will be in stores January 2011. Until then, visit the books official site.