Rated Reads

Drop Dead Healthy

by A. J. Jacobs

Rated: Moderate

The thing I love best about A.J. Jacobs is that he’s insane enough to try things that normal human beings don’t even consider. I mean, really: who would read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica? Or spend a year living the Bible to the letter? Or go undercover as a woman? (Actually, I haven’t read that one. Yet.)

Or how about spending two years becoming the healthiest man alive?

If anyone can go from intellectual, indoor-loving couch potato to a lean, mean healthy machine, it has to be A.J. Jacobs.

He organizes this one roughly chronologically — giving us checkup updates from month 1 to month 25 — but also by body part. He spends a month each on his eyes, his ears, his brain, his fingers, his stomach, his heart, his testicles (yes, you read that right), and right on down to his feet. He’s game to try just about everything — from caveman exercise (and diets!) to going OCD on toxins to BluePrintCleanse, though he didn’t go as far as plastic surgery (he did consider it, though; his wife nixed it) — there really is no stone he leaves unturned. It’s a fascinating way to approach health, but also a trivia-inducing one. If I have become insufferable with “Did you know…” and “I read in Drop Dead Healthy…” statements, it’s only because this book is packed with so. much. information. And all of it interesting. It helps, I think, that his books are so readable: he’s self-deprecating, but not to the point where it’s annoying. He’s funny. And his wonderful, long-suffering wife (and adorable boys) play roles as well; he really is devoted to them, and they really are wonderfully tolerant of his insanity.

So, did I learn anything? Yes. There was possibly too much information thrown at me, but some did sink in. Will I incorporate anything I learned into my life? I don’t know. Perhaps. Was it an enjoyable way to spend my time? Most definitely.

Oh, and for the record: I think A. J. would be proud that I read this book entirely while on the elliptical at the gym. I hope so, anyway.

Rated: Moderate. There are two f-bombs and some mild swearing.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • Drop Dead Healthy
  • by A. J. Jacobs
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: