book review: SCIENCE . . . for HER!

science for her

SCIENCE . . . for HER! by Megan Amram. Publisher: Scribner [November 4, 2014]. Humor. Hardcover. 224 pages.

This could be so much better. Megan Amram seems pretty smart –Harvard graduate, a writer for Parks and Recreation with 428K twitter followers [and in this social media-obsessed world that means everything]. I understand what she’s attempting to do. She wrote a “satirical science textbook” in the style of a silly women’s magazine. She’s making light of the fact that women aren’t supposed to know anything about science or be good at science, technology, engineering or math [STEM]. She said she decided to write the book after writing a bunch of parody women’s magazine pieces such as “1,001 Ways to Get Someone Un-Pregnant.”

This book contains too much crude humor. Sure it’s subversive and a bit edgy. I still didn’t laugh out loud perhaps because I feel much of it is a retread of other better comedic material. I’ve never been much of a stand-up fan, don’t watch that many sitcoms [I enjoy Parks and Rec mainly for Amy Poehler. I do LOVE the new blackish]. I prefer indie dramas and documentaries to fluffy rom-coms and bawdy comedies. The cover design is fun. It’s a take-off on Cosmopolitan magazine. Many might be amused by the things I don’t find funny. It’ll appeal to millennials and perhaps less so to jaded GenXers like me.

There’s “Birth Control Methods” –“1.Being Jennifer Aniston 2. Fat body, BUSTED face etc . . .” Then “What your Man’s Drink Says About Him:” white wine= gay; red wine=gay; cosmopolitan=gay; martini=gay. You get the point. Another piece is titled “This Spring’s Most Glamorous Ways to Die” which includes smallpox, capital punishment, kill yourself at your ex-boyfriend’s wedding and die during sex. She posts about physics through nail art. About paper and trees, Amram writes: “Really the only thing a tree is good for is when you KILL IT (long and painful death, please!) and make it into fun and/or flirty books like this one or other cute ones.”

On global warming she writes: “But, like, are you seriously asking me to give up all my favorite things, just so the earth doesn’t get any hotter? Like, my favorite things are literally driving around in pink Hello Kitty Hummers, hairspray and deforestation.” Amram makes fun of plastic surgery, Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccination campaign and “Legitimate Rape” so bonus points there. “I wish this were a joke. But legitimate rape is a real phenomenon (and also the sex move of the chapter, PLEASE don’t try it, though, it’s only symbolic). Knowledge is power ladies. You have to understand this so you don’t unknowingly spread lies.”

For The Big Bang, Amram posts tips for hosting your own BIG BANG [wink wink] and explains the Big Bang like this: “It’s like when you eat a pretzel M&M on your period and suddenly you immediately balloon into a fat cow!” This one is funny: “10 New Genres of Electronic Music: 1. Hip house; 2. Clap bass; 3. Jungle core; 4. Skin; 5. Patty ska; 6. Chap; 7. Ennuicore; 8. Unicore; 9. Chints and 10. Gregorian filth.”

Fans of Megan Amram are already pre-ordering this book and will be lining up for her readings. Others I’d suggest proceeding a bit slower. If crude humor’s your thing, you’ll enjoy the read. It’s also quick and like a magazine you can flip around. There are plenty of graphs, charts, pictures and anecdotes mixed in with the various chapters on Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth Sciences, Pharmacology & Medicine, Space & Technology and Women in Science.

RATING: ***/5*

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Scribner/Simon & Schuster.

BOOK READINGS:

Los Angeles
Wednesday, Nov. 5
Barnes & Noble at the Grove

Toronto
Friday, Nov. 7
Empire Comedy Live @ Comedy Bar

Brooklyn
Saturday, Nov. 8
powerHouse Arena with John Hodgman

New York
Sunday, Nov. 9
The Strand with Megan Mullally

Cambridge
Monday, Nov. 10
Harvard Bookstore at Brattle Theatre

Portland, Ore.
Friday, Nov. 14
Powell’s

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