Book Review: Drop Dead Healthy

I’m fan of A.J. Jacobs. I’ve learned a lot, and laughed a lot, with many of his books, which are focused forays into various themes in which Jacobs writes in the midst of the experiences. He’s read the encyclopedia. He’s explored outsourcing his life. He’s lived by strict biblical rules. And now, with Drop Dead Healthy, he wants to get healthy. He does, and over the course of two years, Jacobs explores many facets of our bodies, our visions of health, and dips his way into all of the alarming and contradictory research around various health claims.

Jacobs also brings us into the warm relationship he had with his grandfather (a legendary lawyer from New York) and his quirky, passionate aunt, who rails against modern society’s ignorance of health. Both of them pass away during the course of the two years that Jacobs was writing this book, and he honors their lives by situating them within the context of the larger story about living life to the fullest, and healthiest, and determining what is important. While I enjoyed the explorations of health, including all of the wacky experiments that Jacobs takes on (his poor wife!), the threads of his family held the book together for me in an emotional way.

I also appreciated Jacobs’ conclusions around what he learned, and the final scene of him holding the sticky hands of his son (munching on cotton candy) is touching.

Peace (in the health),
Kevin

 

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  1. While this was not my favorite of the three books of his I have read, I did enjoy it. I did so for basically the same reason you shared, his interweaving of his family into the narrative of living healthier. I have been exceptionally impressed with the construction of all three of his books. The choices he makes as a writer are thoughtful and make for a pretty seamless read in spite of the immense amount and variety included.

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