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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It scores, June 15, 2008
This review is from: The Score: How The Quest For Sex Has Shaped The Modern Man (Hardcover)
For me, this book hit the nail on the head. I found myself reading from cover to cover in five lengthy sessions, two while captive on long flights, becoming engrossed each time. That was a bit of a surprise because the topic--everything male--doesn't easily lend itself to an integrated narrative. Also the book is structured as a couple of dozen blocks that can stand alone.

Despite this I read straight through. This is really because the author has such an engaging, conversational tone that I didn't want to just jump to the "juicy bits". Flam moves effortlessly from topic to topic, melding together anecdotes, such as a visit to a penis museum in Iceland, with explanations of some fairly complex biology that were weighty and clear. The explanation of why two sexes is optimal, and not three or ten or two hundred, sticks in my mind. This back and forth between personal experience and imparting information felt just like a conversation with a likeable, knowledgeable friend.

Confession: I set out enthusiastically anticipating the more prurient components--hey, I'm a man. These didn't disappoint but on balance the insights into evolutionary strategy and reproductive biology shaded it. If you're looking for some insight into why us men do the things we do, and some sense of how we got to be this way, read The Score.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 25, 2008 7:02:25 AM PDT
Mark Davis says:
Faye Flam has that rare talent to take something as convoluted as genetic science and make it readable. Perhaps some of the nation's textbook publishers should take note of the way she handles the topic.
Her book is proof that Flam is more than scientist, more than writer: In "The Score," she links us to other creatures, and the one drive we all share -- to procreate. Who can read her account about the sex life of the giant squid and not wonder about the power of that instinct?
Flam has a fine wit, and is not afraid to inject a bit of her own life into the book's pages. Sure, she lampoons men, but she gets a few good jabs in at her own gender, too. That's as it should be. She also manages to wrap up the book the way she began it, with her visit to the seduction workshop. Facile? No. Fascinating? Yes.
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