Sometimes Karasu overreaches on social issues—as when she lists a number of situations in which obese people face discrimination but then says voters assessing candidates for higher office “certainly should [take obesity] into consideration” (though “the situation is clearly a complex one”)—but her grasp of the latest science is strong, and she explains factual findings well. Readers will be intrigued by her writing on discoveries such as irisin, a hormone found in skeletal muscle that may benefit those with conditions that preclude exercise. Her examinations of how circadian rhythms and sleep deprivation affect weight are especially fascinating. She often refers to publications by year alone, or even with vague phrases such as “several years ago”; full citations would be helpful for those who want to use her brief overviews as jumping-off points for further research.
Karasu adds visual appeal with lavish illustrations (most from before the 20th century, going back to illuminations from medieval manuscripts). Her expertly crafted writing is ideal for academics already grounded in the topic (language such as “epigenetic modifications can be reversible or stable, as well as occur randomly or induced by changes in the environment” is ubiquitous) and the book is well suited to classroom and library use.
Takeaway: This scrupulously researched collection of essays on the latest science around obesity is perfect for an academic audience.
Great for fans of Perri Klass, Morgan Spurlock.
Design and typography: A+
Marketing copy: A