Gulp by Mary Roach follows the entire alimentary process: the journey of food from one end to the body to the other. A book for the more adventurous reader, Gulp answers questions the reader never knew she had. Why do dogs lick their wounds? Why can we light our farts on fire? What does partially digested food taste like? Roach divides the book into chapters, each covering a different strange anecdote about the study of the digestive process.
Rather than a scientific overview of the “alimentary canal” Gulp is a series of mostly humorous stories, more about the people who study digestion than the actual study of it. Roach’s descriptions of the scientists whom she has met can become a bit silly: “If a man can be said to resemble a tooth, van der Bilt is a lower incisor” (Roach, 130). A person searching for a serious scientific study should not look to Gulp. However, a reader with a strong stomach and good sense of humor, will love it.