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Hey, Einstein!: A novel about nature and nurture Paperback – June 26, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Northern Passage Press, Christopher Wanjek (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615650503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615650500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,533,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Wanjek is a health and science journalist and author. He gained international notoriety as the health writer with his 2005 book Food at Work, written for the U.N.'s International Labor Organization, about workers' nutrition. The book project, since presented in over 20 countries, has led to laws in several countries to improve workers' access to healthy food. His first book, Bad Medicine, from 2003, continues as a weekly health column for LiveScience.com. As a freelance journalist, Wanjek has written extensively for The Washington Post and Sky & Telescope, as well as Smithsonian, Forbes, and other U.S.- and European-based magazines. His books and magazine articles have been published in seven languages. From 1997 to 2007 he was the senior writer for NASA's Beyond Einstein Program, which focused on general relativity, high-energy astrophysics and the Einstein legacy. Also since 1997, Wanjek has been a contributing joke writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He is a graduate of Harvard School of Public Health, and he resides in the Washington-metropolitan area with his wife and daughter. Hey, Einstein! is his first novel. Similarity to each of the Einstein clones presented in the novel is purely coincidental.

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By marie on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a quick and fun read with some very touching moments. This is subtitled a nature versus nurture tale and the author takes great pains to show how different these Einsteins are physically and mentally. You can guess the answer from the books description that nurture wins. The first person narrator is preachy but this makes sense in the end. He takes shots at both sides, liberal and conservative. There's a funny parody of NPR being sponsored by Agri-Tech -"At Agri-Tech, we turn corn into food."
There are funny references to Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller Catch-22. The war parody is savage, as one reviewer said. The Rumsfield character, Montjoie, is some kind of mold creature that lives in the White House woodwork and materializes when "humid desperation" it in the room. Then there's the ban on Spanish things, and Congress changes the name of the Spanish fly date rape drug to Liberty Fly. There are many laugh out loud parts easy to miss. My only criticism is the story is script like -like a movie. There is so much clever writing though that the story moves along.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ScienceScout on September 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. Although I can absolutely see why others didn't like it. All the reviews are correct. The problematic part for some will be the second story line. This is anti-war and indeed anti-Bush and anti-Iraq invasion.

The main story is about nature and nurture, with the author demonstrating (perhaps to an exhausting extent) that nurture more than genetics defines our lives -- with nurture placing us into various social classes and thus schools, exposure to negative/positive stimuli, income potential, etc. A telling line is main character Jimmy (the drug-addicted Einstein) telling Alberta (the wealthy, Princeton-educated, vegetarian Einstein) that there's little reason for him to eat tofu to control his cholesterol when he expects to be dead from a gunshot by age 39. They are clones, yet they have different world perspectives and health profiles. Think lab mice.

The divisive element of the book is this second story line of the Iraq invasion parody. The premise is that the U.S. government can't find the real culprit, so they invade Cuba... because it can. I personally think that's quite clever. Yet perhaps half of this country (judging by election results) will find this insulting... hence one reviewer saying anyone who watches Fox News will hate this. He's right, and you've been warned.

I don't think the anti-war elements make this a bad book. And I don't want to say you'll either get it or not get it. Some potential readers who were sympathetic to the Bush administration and its efforts will indeed "get it" but just not like it... indeed, hate it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arizona Fats on June 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Awful. No redeeming qualities. Poorly-written (glaring malapropisms, bad grammar, inconsistent pace) and a bad read (caricatures in place of characters, story that is nonsensical and badly-developed). The humor is lame yet feels self-congratulatory, as if the author expects applause for delivering ham-fisted lines you've heard before and better. Colored by a political perspective that lacks any nuance or depth. Perhaps some hardcore MSNBC-fans may find some mildly enjoyable tropes, but you need not be a Fox New viewer to grimace instead of grin.

I find myself less desirous of a refund and more in having back the time I wasted reading this in hope of finding something redemptive about it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Talia on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author seems to be too busy making sure we know how clever he is - and by dragging EVERY situation out to its most absurd to actually write a decent story with engaging characters. Considering the size of his cast of characters, you'd think there was SOMEONE to like! But there isn't. Pity perhaps, but no one you can like. I spent most of my time hoping for the "heros" to fail because that was what his universe deserved.
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