Science… for Her!

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Science… for Her!, Megan Amram (Scribner, 2014) $13.99

When I first received the advance copy of Science… for Her! by Megan Amram, I was excited and eagerly looked forward to reading it. Amram has been listed as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment,” Rolling Stone’s “25 Funniest People in Twitter” and has been a writer for NBC’s Parks & Recreation. With a strong resume like that, buzz had been building around the book since it was first announced. Science? And Feminism? From a rising star of a comedy writer? How could this ever go wrong?

Science… for Her! is one those rare events in publishing where a reader will periodically wonder whether they have had a stroke. Put another way, a reader who persists in reading this book will not only learn absolutely nothing valuable about science or even life, but will run a high risk of losing brain cells with consumption. Amram’s pedigree as a comedy writer falls shamefully flat – not only is it not funny but I found myself recoiling repeatedly in horror. This book is what you would get if you gave a tape recorder to a pot smoking 7th grade drop-out who got drunk at a party. Anyone who reads this book will likely feel a mixture of pity and concern for the mental health of Amram (and her immediate family) – especially when she advocates using meth for dieting or discusses gas as not just “the stuff that comes out of your fetid butthole. It’s also the stuff that is in your oven and you can kill yourself with it. It’s honestly a beautiful way to die.”

More, her supposed “biting gender commentary” does nothing for anyone involved in gender studies except frustrate them as she intentionally get things wrong and makes jokes that would get her booed off even the scummiest of nightclub stages. The book is supposed to be satire, but fails at this. It is supposed to make us as a society question how we are perpetuating a shameful misconception that girls “aren’t good at science” but fails at this also. Rather than say anything of substance, Amram intentionally(?) gets science, scholarship, and common sense shamefully wrong.

On Marie Curie – a world reknown chemist and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize: “Real butterface. Because of the radiation burns. Real butterradiationburnsonherface.”

On rape: “It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. Being beautiful is asking for it! If you truly didn’t want to be raped, you would gain forty pounds and/or come out as a lesbian.”

On space: “Space is mostly a vacuum. We sure know about those, ladies! But don’t be fooled, it’s not the type of vacuum that makes your life worth living and gives you the sense of purpose that you get from cleaning your family’s house that your man owns. It means there are very few particles floating around and it’s mostly just empty space… There’s no air in space, which is okay because humans can live without air for like, three years or something. Or wait, I’m thinking of changing your oil.”

I’m not sure where exactly Amram’s education went wrong here, who she bought off, or how much she had to smuggle across the border, but this book is both forgettable, disgusting, and terrible at the same moment. If anything – and I feel I am being more than fair in this assessment – this book is an excellent addition to the collection of aspiring writers because it will remind them that no matter how terrible they are with grammar or general knowledge, how lacking they are in humor, or how ignorant they are of basic 4th Grade science – someone out there will publish their terrible, terrible, just god-awful book.

Randall S. Frederick was previously a high-school science teacher. He now writes for The Huffington PostThe Good Men Project, and Sexuality & the City.

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