Saturday, January 13, 2007

Spook, by Mary Roach

After reading Mary Roach's debut book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers I was very interested to see what she would come up with next and bring her unique perspective to. Stiff was fascinating as Roach detailed exactly what happens to a body as it decomposes, and what uses corpses have been put to over the centuries and today.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife is the newest book by Mary Roach. In Spook, Roach is trying to discover the existence of the soul so she goes after various aspects of people researching or believing in the soul or ghosts. Some proof that there is life after death. There is some sections that are interesting, but overall Spook is frustrating. The book, and each chapter, is ultimately inconclusive because if there was proof of life after death then this book would not be necessary except to show what else has been tried. Instead, Roach tries it all.

Some of what made Stiff so interesting is here in Spook: Mary Roach dives into subjects she knows nothing about and will talk to anybody about anything to learn more about it. She's not shy.

Overall, though, I was disappointed. I didn't feel I learned anything and I was not as entertained as I hoped to be. Where Stiff had concrete facts and information to impart to the reader, Spook has none of that and this is what makes Spook ultimately unsatisfying.

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