Jesse's Reviews > Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants

Rats by Robert Sullivan
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's review
Jan 26, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read in January, 2010

Rats are always interesting. This book, however, was not-- very strangely organized, it obviously lacked a strong editor. There were a lot of portions that seemed entirely out of place, whether barely-connected history or unnecessary personal narrative by the author. The principal organization of the book is the author's remarks on spending a year in an alley watching rats, and at this point, the framing device of "One Year In..." has gotten so old by now that it's likely to make you feel tired of the book before you begin. In addition, the problem with this book is that Sullivan doesn't get that I'm reading it because the book is called RATS, not because it's called SULLIVAN ON RATS. Especially egregious was the penultimate chapter which, for some reason I don't understand, is not at all about rats, but rather about some personnage of the American revolution about whom I couldn't care less. Typical and predictable conclusions about rats-are-us, and rats-are-the-USA! follow. Yawn.

That said, the chapters that actually taught me stuff about rats were pretty neat. I just wish the whole book had been composed of those, as that's why I took the thing out of the library in the first place.
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