Crazy Little Thing - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by aliceinthehole

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Love Really IS a Crazy Thing

Liz Langley's latest book is a walk alongside our author on her journey to discover just what makes us madmen when it comes to our love-lives. If you've ever wondered 'why the hell did I do that?' this book will provide some insight for you. You may have to muddle through alot of gobbledy-gook to get to it, but the science is there amidst the storytelling. A mix of narrative and science, this unique read has a little something for everyone.
Published:
Pros:
Narrative tone
Conversational writing style
Well-researched
Informative
Entertaining
Cons:
Writing style can be distracting
Odd mix of science and stories
Rating by reviewer:
3
extremely useful review

About author

Who is Liz Langley? She's that cute, witty gal from Florida who we all know and love from Eden's SexIs magazine. Her funny articles cover topics from 'snooping makes you fat' to 'the best sex scandals of the year' to 'breast implants filled with fuel additive.' A quirky, tongue-in-cheek-style journalist, she's really quite easy to love, and laugh along with.

From Liz Langley's blog, "She is a columnist for SeXis magazine and her writing has appeared in/on Salon.com, Jezebel, Alternet, Details, Glamour, Bust, Carnal Nation, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons and Gene Simmon's Tongue. She regularly blogs for MyPleasure.com and has been a columnist for the Toronto Sun, the Orlando Weekly and the Orlando Sentinel and has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Press Association and Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Her work also appeared in Best Sex Writing 2008 (Cleis Press)."

She has at least one other book out, available on Amazon.com, entitled Pop Tart: A Fresh, Frosted Sugar Rush Through Our Pre-Packaged Culture.

Her latest book, Crazy Little Thing: Why Love and Sex Drive Us Mad - How Your Hormones and Neurotransmitters Make You Do Really Stupid Things is a unique new non-fiction 'novel' with a scientific twist. You can see her very cute video promoting the new book here. She's really quiet adorable. Did I mention she's cute? Oh yes, and she's also a good writer.
    • Engaging
    • Very personal approach
    • Well known author

Content / Style / Audience

So in the midst of a confusing time in her love-life, Liz discovers Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Dr. Helen Fisher. It completely changed the way she viewed relationships and the emotions involved in them. This set her off on her journey to dive on her own into the world of physiological reactions of the romantic sort.

She takes us along on her journey, introducing us to friends who've loved and lost, doctors who describe the brain's most ancient inner-workings in terms even a dummy can understand, and all the way to odd circus folk trapped in love triangles of the most dangerous kind. She travels around the country gathering pieces to her brain-teasing puzzle, and along the way shares with us her scientific findings. The book is written in a very narrative way and is reminiscent of a novel, spotted with facts on human biology. Liz doesn't dive too deeply into any particular element of psychiatry here, but rather gives us a laywoman's view, in terms that the average person can understand.

Crazy Little Thing is packed with useful(-less?) information and little side stories, such as the fact that it takes all of 1/5 of a second to fall in love. Liz highlights numerous odd stories of love and other mishaps as well, including the case of the Ache people of Paraguay, a culture who shares paternity with multiple fathers in order to raise a more well-rounded, stable and supported child. You'll certainly learn alot of information here that will be useful on Jeopardy someday. And if nothing else, the stories are entertaining and do help to bring the story along at points.

Still, something about the style just bothered me. The flow was hardly that, and the book quite jumped all over the place, covering dozens of subjects in a single chapter. Also, Liz's humorous interjections were often Family-Guy-esque references to something that seemingly had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand, and were very distracting. For example, after a paragraph quoting her friend Sherry speaking on something called the 'flavor of love,' meaning we are attracted to whatever type of love we first 'taste' in our early childhood, Liz interjects oddly:

"I don't want to interrupt her by piping up to say there used to be a show on TV called 'The Flavor of Love," in which a surprisingly large number of women were competing for the affections of musician Flavor Flav. One girl got so excited during Flav's equivalent of a rose ceremony that she defecated ont he staircase of the mansion. Perhaps in her infantile template love meant that someone would still care for you even if you couldn't control your poop reflex. And she was right -- for at least one more episode, I think."

Now, this was an example that was at least funny as well as had something to do with the topic at hand, but many of the references made next to zero sense. They were like alot of inside jokes thrown into the book. Without them, the book could've been 75% its length.

The book covers topics from why certain people are attracted to others, why it's so difficult to recover from a breakup, why breakups cause irrational behavior, and mourning the death of a loved one. I would've personally preferred the book to keep the stories to a minimum and include mainly anecdotes directly related to the science Liz was trying to convey. Without the largely distracting stories, this book could've been about 25% its length. We're getting down to a pretty short book, now that the distracting anecdotes and stories have been removed.
    • Humorous
    • Instructional / educational
    • Non-fiction

Design

The softcover book features 256 pages, including 4 pages of praise from 12 different writers and 14 pages of reference notes. Liz has certainly done her diligent research!

The cover is appealing and professional, but certainly not discreet. The word SEX gleams in bright red and white. The book is sturdy as any coffee-table book, and bound with standard softcover binding methods.
    • Not very discreet cover
    • Soft cover
    • Well made

Personal comments

I started to get very into this book, and had high hopes for it. Liz made me smile with her wittiness and I was intrigued by all the incredibly interesting things I learned about the brain and its workings. As an infinitely mysterious organ sitting right there between our ears, the brain is neverendingly fascinating, and Liz does a good job of exploring it. Still, I could've so done without all the gobbledy-gook as I'll call it, the junk that was mixed in. All the rambling on and 'So this one time at band camp...' type references were a turn-off, and I eventually put it down. I couldn't make it through the rest of the book! I'm a very picky reader, however, and losing the interest of this book snob shouldn't deter anyone from a book.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • kendra30752
    kendra30752  
    Amazing review! I like that I know what to expect in this book after reading your review . I would LOVE to read this, but as a writer myself, I'm pretty sure I'd get extremely agitated with those interruptions. I'm not a patient reader. Lol. I think I might give it a shot though on a day when I'm feeling more patient because some of these details sound very interesting!

    Thanks for the great review!
  • BadassFatass
    BadassFatass  
    This sounds like it could be interesting. I might give it a shot.
  • aliceinthehole
    aliceinthehole  
    @kendra. for sure it's got some interesting info in it, things that blew my mind! the brain is so fascinating.

    @awhirlwindlife. hope you like it! thanks for reading.
  • Ryuson
    Ryuson  
    Thanks for the review! I am more of a 'book slut' (ie. Reading EVERYTHING I can) so it's nice to hear a review from someone who is a 'book snob!' I'm sorry that her writing style was so distracting to you!
  • aliceinthehole
    aliceinthehole  
    thanks for reading, ryuson! did you get your package in the mail yet!?
  • PassionateLover2
    PassionateLover2  
    I love your writing; you did a fabulous job! I got my work cut out for me!!!!
  • teddybear328
    teddybear328  
    Thank for the review.
  • aliceinthehole
    aliceinthehole  
    thanks for reading, teddybear.
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