Title: On Immunity: An Inoculation
Author: Eula Biss
Narrator: Tamara Marston
Audio: 6.4 hours
Source: Public Library
Book Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Rating: 4/5
Summary (from the publisher):
Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear—fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child’s air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.
In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected—our bodies and our fates.
I went into this one a very strong vaccine supporter, so I didn’t need convincing, but I found the history of the vaccines and the science behind it an interesting study.
I didn’t necessarily love her storytelling style, though. She approached this in a personal way, as a mother making her own decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. She then tries to relate to all mothers and very clearly has the universal mother in mind as her audience. I wanted something a little more…objective.
I also didn’t quite get what all of the Dracula references added. Perhaps that’s me being dense. Or tired.
This is a quick read and definitely a worthwhile one.
I don’t think this book is going to change anyone’s mind. The people I know who really believe that vaccination is a personal choice that doesn’t affect anyone else or that the CDC and “Big Pharma” are conspiring against us are not going to be persuaded by this book. It seems our society, or at least a not-insignificant faction of it, will continue to deny science, whether it be vaccines or climate change or a myriad of other things, despite insurmountable evidence backing it. This book isn’t going to stop that. But I applaud the effort.
Nothing much to say here. Tamara Marston does a fine job with this, which is all you really want in nonfiction.