Sunday, May 6, 2018

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Title: On Immunity: An Inoculation
Author: Eula Biss
Pages: 216
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle


I'm having difficulty capturing this summary in my own words while doing it justice. So I've copied this from the Amazon description:

In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses our fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may or may not be in our children's air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, she suggests that we cannot immunize our children, or ourselves, against the world. As she explores the metaphors surrounding immunity, Biss extends her conversations with other mothers to meditations on the myth of Achilles, Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and its metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected - our bodies and our fates.


I grabbed this on my Kindle when it first came out and just finally got around to it. I think one of my fears was that it was going to be a heavy and dry read. It was absolutely not heavy or dry. Her writing was engaging and conversational and once I got reading it just flew by.

I love how Biss talks about her own experiences and fears as a new mother. It was very relatable to me. Not just the information about inoculation, but about all the other things we fear as new parents. At some point I remember making a conscious decision to stop clicking on every article about the newest thing that threatens to kill my child. It was too much and it was turning me into a nervous parent. And I think this was a really good decision for me.

I really loved how Biss talks about the history of inoculation - of what people were doing in the 1500's and 1600's. They didn't have a word for it, but it was happening that far back. As someone who likes history and medicine I founbd thisShe also cleverly wove facts about inoculation and the history of inoculation with other literary works. It was interesting and informative.

I don't have any real insights on this book other than I liked it. I do believe in herd immunity. I don't believe vaccinations are dangerous in any way. My favorite parts of this book were the history and the confirmation that all mothers worry after their first-born children.

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