Roach looks into the history (and present) of varying attempts to prove the existence of the afterlife around the world, including researches attempting to document and verify cases of reincarnation in India, the history of Spiritualism and mediums in the UK and US, and recent research into electromagnetic fields and ultrasound to explain ghost sightings.
- Roach’s introduction establishes herself as a skeptic who needs verifiable proof, but still intends to approach the subject with a fair an open mind instead of dismissing people outright.
- Very funny throughout, Roach is on-point with her asides and tangential observations about the details she finds delightful.
- Extensively researched but never dry, Roach includes a complete bibliography, acknowledges when the more scientific material made no sense to her, and interviews people directly involved wherever possible.
- Roach’s template for these books — magazine article-length essays on various topics with segues leading into the next topic — works perfectly here, giving full accounts of her time “in the field” drilling down on a single subject, while still feeling more like a unified work than a collection of loosely-related essays.
- Extremely accessible and fun to read
- The mission statement of the book is in the introduction: find some verifiable, repeatable evidence. As a result, it feels entertaining if not particularly deep. This is not likely to be a book that will change anyone’s perception of life or the afterlife, because it’s not necessarily intended to.
Excellent, and it’s solidified me as a fan of Mary Roach. (Even though I might be a bit too sensitive/squeamish for her other topics, like Stiff and Bonk). In my opinion, this is exactly the right way to combine humor with science/nonfiction writing.