This is the kind of book that I don’t like to review (because I didn’t really like it and many others in the blogosphere do), so I’ll keep this post short.
I liked bits of Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier (1999), and then the author started really irritating me. My main issue was a misunderstanding of what Ms Angier hoped to accomplish in her volume. When I began reading, I thought I was picking up a pop science book about the majesty of woman’s body, scientifically examined. That is not what this is. After a hundred pages, I realized that this is a personal view of women as written by a journalist with a background in science.
In the introduction, Natalie Angier calls this her “fantasia” on women. One definition of “fantasia” on M-W.com is “a work in which the author’s fancy roves unrestricted.” This is what Ms. Angier does in her tome about womanhood, so given her self-description I should not have been surprised by the non-scientific tone. From chapters on the organs specific to women (some of which garnered double chapters) to the hormones that function in the background, Woman certainly does cover a lot of ground. I didn’t want an incredibly scientific tone – pop science does appeal to me. But Woman became far more political and opinionated than I had anticipated.
I consider myself middle of the road politically – conservative on some issues, liberal on others. But this liberal author became irritatingly overbearing as she discussed some issues1 Especially her later chapters felt like opinion and not fact, and it was a major turn off as I continued reading.
I was incredibly disappointed, since I had hoped for a more fact-based look at that majesty of my womanly body. If you don’t mind opinion mixed in with scientific facts, then this may be just the pop science/journalism book that you want to read about women.
For a positive “must read” post about this book, see Eva’s blog.
- I choose not to go in to the specifics that annoyed me. ↩