Clidston's Reviews > Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Spook by Mary Roach
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U 50x66
's review
Jul 09, 2007

it was ok

A trip through various scientific and not-so-scientific attempts to ascertain whether or not the human soul, consciousness, personality, or whatever survives the death of the body. Looks at reincarnation, mediums, ectoplasms, attempts to measure or weigh the soul, anatomical searches for the seat of the soul within the body, electromagnetic haunting, quantum physics theories of consciousness, ghost-hunting, electronic voice phenomena and near-death experiences. Not at all a "scholarly" work and written in a tongue-firmly-in-cheek fashion. I'll allow there were some funny moments (I'm still chuckling over the chapter on reincarnation, entitled "You Again?"), but unfortunately it's not as entertaining as the diverse and bizarre subject matter might suggest. The tone of the whole thing is smug and self-involved, enamored of its own clever little turns of phrase, like an endless NPR personal essay or a article.
Could be good, amusing food for thought if you're interested in this kind of thing, but for some reason it seems to drag a little bit. It's almost boring.
How can anything be boring when it includes people killing themselves out of curiousity about the afterlife, mediums hiding cheesecloth and animal parts in their vaginas, electromagnetic impulses being sent into the right lobe of the brain to simulate the experience of being "haunted," and a man mowing his lawn in a three-piece suit? Don't ask me, but it is.
Incidentally, I actually listened to this on audiobook - whatever you do don't do that. The reader is terrible, and manages to step on the punchline of nearly every joke (I also didn't need the exaggerated French accent when reading a quotation from Descartes in English, thank you very much).
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2007 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Jason do you think it was audiobook that degraded how much you liked or didnt like this book?

Clidston Yes, I do.

Jason I heard she just mocks the entire idea of ghosts and spirituality throughout. People say her religion got in the way. It's all speculation but i moved on to bonk. This one looks so good and I loved the description.. But the reviews of it just slash it to pieces.

message 4: by Claire (new) - added it

Claire Jackson I've just started and am glad to see I'm not the only one who feels a little put off by her smugness. And disdain of other cultures' beliefs.

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