Author: Giulia Enders, Jill Enders
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: Engaging and easy to follow, but I found it overly simplistic.
This book about the microbiome came out about 5 years ago, just as people were starting to explore this exciting new field. A lot of the content was in also covered in 10% Human, another book that was published (and that I read) around the same time. It felt immediately dated to me as a result, but the author’s enthusiasm for what was new info at the time was quite enjoyable.
Everyone will have a different preference for how science books balance accuracy and clarity. For me, this book erred far enough on the side of clarity that I felt it’s intended audience might be middle school students. It was delightfully engaging, with fun analogies and cartoons to illustrate the author’s points. However, there were also times where I thought the simplified language became inaccurate. There were other times when I felt the author could have easily introduced technical language without adding complexity. As a someone who works in biology and reads a lot of pop science books, I felt underestimated by the author.
The reaction from my science book club was mixed. Some people really loved this book for how entertaining the writing was. Others shared my problems with it. People also noted that there weren’t citations for individual lines, just a list of sources at the back, and some of the stories the author shared felt like science urban legends. Given that even some of us in a group that regularly reads science nonfiction enjoyed this one, I’d suggest checking out a few other reviews to see if it’s likely to be a better fit for you.
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