walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_My Beautiful Genome_, Lone Frank (kindle)

Subtitled: Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time

I've been reluctant to actually dive into any genealogical "work", per se, because I know I can't plan things more than a few minutes into the future at this time of year (if that) and/or I should be using the time for something else. But I can look at January and smirk, so I've been surfing geneablogs and stumbled across mentions of this.

It's a great name, isn't it? The author is a Danish woman only slightly older than me. Much better educated, unmarried and without children (at least at the time of writing), both her parents have already died and she has only one sibling. My imagination doesn't stretch far enough to consider her as having caught the genealogy bug; she is, however, fascinated by what we can know about our genetics and it is from this perspective that she is writing.

It is _exactly_ my kind of non-fiction: a very intelligent woman gets interested in a topic and then proceeds to track down the experts and engage/interact/interview them. _AFTER_ doing a ton of great research. It's no fun watching a novice ask rookie questions (for me, anyway), but it is hugely entertaining and enlightening to watch an informed non-careerist go around and make connections around and throughout a rarefied field which has real-world impact.

Does she go around having every conceivable test done to herself, her family and her romantic interests? Of course! Does she have ideas about what they're going to say? Yes! Is she generally right? Sure!

Her authorial voice is very present, but her self-description suggests that the impression a reader has of her and the impression someone meeting her in person might have of her could differ substantially. No way to know which is more accurate. But the whole is cohesive (smart, educated, painfully sensitive to how things including words affect herself but not necessarily great at anticipating her effect on others) and believable. There are moments where I would dearly love to know how consciously certain writerly decisions were made (letting a neo-eugenicist go on about the "burden on society" of some genetic diseases while simultaneously puffing away on a cigarette). If conscious, I absolutely applaud them. If unconscious, I sure hope they eventually become conscious.

The book is absolutely worth your time in terms of content. I personally _love_ the style, but I recognize that such a pervasive, personal authorial voice is off-putting to some consumers of non-fiction. Forewarned, etc.

Oh, and she really is Danish. She's not Danish-American or an immigrant or whatever; there's a great deal of interest in her interactions with the health system at home and in other European countries and so forth, at least for an American who really wonders how health care works in other places. I don't mean on a who-pays-for-what basis; I mean on how advice is delivered and the content of that advice and so forth.
Tags: book review, genealogy, non-fiction

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