First, I suggest a counter to the review which said the book was dense reading. I don't think so (caveat - I have a degree in Theology, so I read this stuff all the time). Brown's presentation is more lucid than many writers of similar works in technical journals, and he is a world class expert on "Late Antiquity", a subject he virtually invented. He is also the author of the best biography of St. Augustine (short of reading the "Confessions").
I also suspect the reviewer's claim that the Christians took on the ascetic ethic of the Stoics. The only reference to the Stoics of any substance is their influence on Clement of Alexandria, who was not a major advocate of asceticism and against concupiscence. Asceticism grew on the fringes of the empire, in the Syrian and Egyptian deserts. The emphasis on abstinence from all sex except for procreation for the general faithful was stressed most strongly by St. Augustine in several books, and argued strongly against heretics who discounted "original sin".
I have two main comments which scholars may find useful. The first is that it deals primarily with Latin Christendom, and with very little attention given to the Greeks (Origin, the Cappadocians, and John Chrysostom) of Egypt and Anatolia, for example. The second is that it tends to see things from a very broad perspective, giving lots of background. This has the advantage of pulling in a lot of names and places who are important to someone studying the subject. I heard, for the first time, of the major Pelagian heretic, Julian of Eclanum.
It is this broadness which makes the book appealing to the non-scholar. It is important to remember that the subject is both "the body" and "society". That's a big canvas to fill. But, if all you want is ancient views on "the body", you may need to wade through a lot of ancient history. But, for school work, the footnotes and the bibliography are worth the price of admission.