Home Authors Books Subjects Events Software Features Links Newsletter Gifts Blog Write Review What's New

Review - The Truth About Hormones - Vivienne Parry

 

Visit bookshop

Vivienne Parry begins her book with a little reassurance that the whole business of hormones is "basically easy". It's not, she tells us "string theory or mobile [cell] phone contracts." That's all right, then. Or at least it should be, though I have to say I found the rest of the introductory section titled "A bluffer's guide to hormones" to be about on a par with most basic introductions to string theory, but a lot less interesting, as it plodded through the different types of hormone and how hormones work. It's not that a book like this doesn't need the basics - in fact, if anything it needs more than there is here - but they can be presented in the interesting and enticing way that was suggested by that introductory reassurance, rather than like a high school textbook.

To be fair, things get significantly better when Parry moves on from the basics of hormones to what they do for (and to) us. Different sections explore our two big hormone explosions - around birth and puberty - environmental impact, the effect of hormones on our bodies and perhaps most significantly the balance of control between us and our hormones, especially as we begin to modify them more and more.

Along the way there are some interesting stories that capture the attention, like the eye catching statement that drugs for IVF were originally made using the urine of Vatican nuns, but it's telling that even when the publisher pulls out half a dozen key "fascinating stories" in their publicity, they are reduced to "if you drop a thyroid hormone tablet into your kids' tadpole jam-jar you'll have frogs by morning." Interesting, certainly, but hardly riveting.

I really wanted to enjoy this book. It was a subject I thought (I still do think) I wanted to find more about, but despite the friendly approach of the author I found it impenetrable and often dull. There's lots of good information in there, and if you need to find out about hormones it's a good start, but it could have been better.

Only in paperback

Reviewed by Jo Reed

DISCLAIMERS

This site has no connection with Popular Science magazine or other sites and publications with a similar name.

Much of the content of this site is written by popular science writers or friends of popular science writers. Inevitably many of the reviews in such a small community are written by or about someone we know. We always aim to be impartial in our reviews, but there is a connection which we need make clear, as there is no intention to deceive. The content of any review or article is solely the opinion of the author and should not be read or understood on any other basis. The site exists to promote popular science writing and popular science authors and for this reason should be considered promotional material, just as the editorial reviews in an online bookshop or the blurb on the back of a book should be considered promotional.

The website should not be eaten or used where it can come into contact with water.

Disagree with our review? Want to comment on a feature? Contact us at info@ popularscience.co.uk - have your say!

Part of the Popular Science  site

Copyright Creativity Unleashed Limited 2005
Last update 05 June 2007