The Secret Family: Twenty-Four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies

David Bodanis, Author Simon & Schuster $27 (224p) ISBN 978-0-684-81019-5
Once again, Bodanis (The Secret Garden) offers a fabulously entertaining and informative look at the perfectly mundane. Here he follows a typical American family of five through a typical Saturday: breakfast, morning chores, lunch and shopping at the mall and then a video at home before bedtime. Throughout, he explains human physiology and behavior and, while he apparently believes in free will, he demonstrates how much of what we do is governed by biological forces outside of our control. Bodanis's descriptions of lunch at the mall and other meals may leave readers never wanting to eat fast food again. Consider how a cheap danish is made: ""Processed chicken feathers or the scraped belly stubble from scalded pig carcasses are often added to these lowest-price pastries, as their extracted proteins help in softening the flour that's used."" And if this makes readers want to scurry off to bed, they should realize that ""There are usually at least 10,000 mites per pillow in the most hygienic of traditional homes."" There is a wealth of fascinating material in this book that will leave readers alternately amazed, disgusted and roaring with laughter--and much more informed about their secret lives than ever before. Photos. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/30/1997
Release date: 07/01/1997
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-684-84593-7
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-19637-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-19451-8
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