View the latest articles in our RSS feed

Why Girls Can't Throw… Why Girls Can't Throw…

By Stephen Eustace

To write a book that captivates its audience is a task all writers aspire to. Symons’ latest instalment to the popular science genre has done this by merging random questions and concocting eccentric answers from his own perception of the world.

Symons' research, which is in the most part anecdotal, is based upon contacting knowledgeable parties to, hopefully, answer the questions he poses. These enquiries range from the obscure to the informative, entertaining his audience with humour, wit, shock, and in some cases utter unpleasantness. Yet through his engaging rhetoric you come to appreciate the book’s hidden appeal.

Why Girls Can’t Throw queries matters such as why are yawns so infectious? Could you kill someone if you dropped a coin off the top of a skyscraper? Why do we mind our p’s and q’s? And can you lose weight by eating celery?

This however is not the limit of his indulgence. Symons makes light of issues such as the usefulness of air masks on planes during a decompression situation, whether it is wrong to copy a friend’s CD before giving it to them for their birthday, how to tell a friend they have halitosis, and why Israel are in the Eurovision Song Contest when they are not part of Europe.

However, there is something distinctly lacking in the read. The answers are often based on sketchy evidence gathered through amateurish research and hence sections of the narrative lack closure, clarity and depth. His humour becomes tedious as the book progresses and his restricted interpretation of the issues is indeed its limiting factor. Symons’ unique writing style compensates for the lack of knowledge he has on the majority of the questions raised. The fact is, if each of us took the time we could find out the answers ourselves.

Pure science this is not. However, if you are looking to discover the benefits of smoking, or what happens to the bullets soldiers fire to disperse crowds then this book is for you. The only warnings I issue are always pay your TV licence and never again eat a supermarket’s own brand of sausage.

Mitchell Symons (2005). Why Girls Can’t Throw... and other questions you always wanted answered. Harper Paperbacks, ISBN 0-0608-3518-4.

This book is available from the Null Bookshop.  Just click here to buy.

You might also like:

Primates and Philosophers by Frans de Waal
Why don't penguins feet freeze? from New Scientist
Collapse: How Societies choose to fail or survive
by Stephen Eustace

Return to the top »

Share this

Bookmark this article at Digg Bookmark this article at Bookmark this article at Slashdot Bookmark this article at StumbleUpon Email this article to a friend

Website by Bristol Developers and Lightenna Ltd