1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Instructive and entertaining, but selective rather than comprehensive,
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This review is from: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Paperback)
Like other reviewers I was struck by Mary Roach's pleasant, humorous take on the many wonderful and disgusting facts about the alimentary canal. Of the 17 chapters, about six and a half relate to the anus, rectum, and intestines and their products. There are also chapters on what goes on in your mouth when you eat, how much you can eat before you burst (literally), the properties of saliva, why some foods smell and taste more attractive, etc. What I missed - and what I really bought the book to learn about - was a systematic account of digestion, and how the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, and small intestine work together to process food and extract nutrients. Whether because the author failed to find sufficiently colourful scientists doing research on those subjects, or because they are too well (or inadequately?) understood, I found little useful material of that kind. But don't let that put you off (unless you too are seeking specific information). It's almost impossible to read this book without learning a great deal, thinking "eeeeeew" from time to time, and laughing quite often.