Simeon Berry's Reviews > Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Spook by Mary Roach
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's review
Jun 16, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, non-fiction-read
Read in January, 2008

Not bad, but Roach reveals her limitations in this book; namely, she writes mostly to entertain. She spends most of her time making fun of mediums from the spiritualism craze in the 20's (which, let's face it, is like shooting fish in a barrel).

But you can also sense the places where her unspoken thesis (i.e. that the idea of a soul, and any attendant special effects, is bunk) runs into problems.

She hurriedly scurries past it (as in the case of Kirlian photography, or a scientific experiment which seemed to validate the presence of an astrally projected body form). This is not to say that either of these is "true" or "valid." Just that the clumsy and hostile way she handles stuff she can't turn into a modest punch-line is in sharp contrast to her deliberate and even-handed approach to the other (more easily debunked) examples. Which I find insulting as a reader. I don't mind being entertained, but I do mind someone pretending that I won't notice flaws in her argument.
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Jason another reviewer said the implications of her own religion may have big her vice, and her failure here. i may try bonk instead.

Simeon Berry "Bonk" is a lot more enjoyable and has a far more harmless agenda (i.e. fun, rather than ridicule).

Jason Simeon wrote: ""Bonk" is a lot more enjoyable and has a far more harmless agenda (i.e. fun, rather than ridicule)."

good to know! its a pity though. She did such a splendid job with Stiff that i thought this would be a good transition for her. alas, i heard that her religion has impeded her judgement and she was a bit too sarcastic and some say rude about this book. Ill stick to the ones that cant weave an agenda in them... like gulp and bonk.

Christy I loved Stiff and Gulp and would highly encourage perusing those. But Spook veered too closely to her personal believe system (ie not strictly science) and it was like she couldn't help herself.

What is her "religion" anyway?

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