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Gulp

Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

by Mary Roach

Gulp
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2013, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

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Mary Roach's signature writing style is on full display in Gulp, a fact and fun-filled romp through the human alimentary canal.

Mary Roach has found her stride. "The food chute is mine," she declares in the introductory chapter to Gulp. A part of me wonders if some of her childlike glee is because with Gulp, she has pinpointed a subject (the digestive system) that lends itself so easily to humor. In the past, her books Spook and Stiff treaded on morbid ground, while Bonk was saucy and scandalous. Gulp, however, with its singular focus on the ins and outs of the digestive tract, is Roach's opportunity to indulge in high-brow scatological humor and dive into research about methane, chewing, and laxatives.

Gulp is the kind of book that is worth reading in the company of others so that the many bizarre and fascinating facts that Roach has squished together can be easily shared. Roach approaches the entire digestive system with awe and an insatiable amount of curiosity, which results in cheeky jokes, puns, and ...

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