Top positive review
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Strikes the right balance
on June 21, 2011
Every human being must eat food, drink beverages, and eliminate the fraction of the food and beverages that the body does not consume as fuel or use as building blocks. There are millions of books written about the food; there are obsessions about wine and liquor, and about soft drinks and water, and no shortage of literature and advertising about beverages. But most of us suppress thoughts about what happens to the fraction of the food and beverages that we eliminate; we just want it gone.
The Big Necessity is essentially a documentary book about a topic from which most want to change the subject. But it is a topic that cannot be ignored for long. How, then, does the compiler of the documentary manage to hold our attention?
Rose George does it with a light touch, a dose of humor. A recitation of statistics, a presentation of the mechanics of moving and treating human waste -- if that were all this book accomplished, the reader would put down the book before completing the first five pages, and the volume itself soon would become part of the waste disposal problem. So the text is laced with anecdotes, vignettes that make the reader want to grab a family member or colleague and say, "You've got to hear this."
The humor is the dose of sugar that helps the medicine go down, and makes the topic endurable. This book addresses an important topic about which most of us are ill-informed and should be better informed, and Rose George helps us along the way.