Oh. My. Gosh, you guys… YOU GUYS!!
So I finished the book today, and my goodness, in that time I have become evangelical about this book. Several of my friends have been promised a loan (whether they wanted it or not) and I’m going to take a day to process what I’ve read and then go back and read it all again.
Suffice it to say – I LOVED this book.
The volume itself is beautiful (if you’re into that kind of thing), with gorgeous minimalist cover art, a nice hardback heft to it, and some stunning photographic inserts. Content-wise, my initial impression of the tone being really well pitched holds up through to the epilogue – throughout, Collen balances use of medical and scientific language with the context and explanation to be able to access it without breaking a sweat. It’s not patronising, but I didn’t get put off by dry scientific prose either. Once or twice I found myself skip-reading a paragraph, because she revisits points more than once to ensure that connections are made properly, but I never felt like the narrative was too repetitive, and I was never bored or unable to follow. Although I have a particularly personal connection with the subject matter, in all it covers enough that it is easy for the reader – any reader, arguably – to make a similar connection to their own life, health and diet.
Basically, I just want to tell everyone to read this book – but if my word’s not enough for you, let me share a few of the moments that made me ‘OMG’ (out loud. Alone in my room).
1 – “Well THAT sounds familiar!”
The author’s own story was the initial hook for me – I noticed similarities to my own previously mentioned health issues, and without giving too much away, Collen’s story serves as a neat structure for the arch of the book. This inclusion of her own journey ups the human connection potential of what could be dry science; and on a more personal level I found a huge amount of comfort, hope and validation in many of the anecdotes and demonstrations outlined within. The appeal’s not narrow, either – I defy anyone reading this in the Western world to not find either a first-hand or second-hand connection herein.
2 – MIND CONTROL
You guys! There is a whole chapter on ‘mind control’ in this book – I don’t want to give everything away, but this is AMAZING stuff! In a book about microbes, the author is able to write a whole chapter on mind control! Which leads me neatly onto…
3 – Some pretty controversial questions
The range of conditions mentioned in the quotation above – not all necessarily considered by the layperson to be ‘diseases’ – are indicative of the perspective-altering scope of this book. Again, I don’t want to give it all away, as the book is beautifully structured to lead the reader through these questions, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that Collen has changed the way I think about my own body, and the way I think about wellbeing in general. Keep an open mind and consider the evidence she presents; I also appreciate that, as a scientist, she does not attempt to provide a messiah-like answer to all of these questions. Collen is not touting a universal fix-all, but instead offering a perspective that perhaps is not all that common in our society.
One final thing I’d say, leading on from my last point, is that this is not a self-help book. Although Collen does, towards the end, make some recommendations about lifestyle choices that the reader may wish to consider, this is not a diet rule book, nor a lifestyle guide. I have taken some really, really helpful things from reading it (my doctors will be getting a grilling!) but it’s not a how-to, and shouldn’t be read as one.
10/10- will read again!