When my friend Sabrina asked me to draw a tattoo for her legg I was surprised. It was the first time I had to think about one of my drawings to be indefeasible marked on a living person. It was certainly more fun to play with lines and volutes and butterflies for me than for her ! But the result is there and I’m very proud of it.
Sabrina was very happy and gave me as a present an absolutely genial book “Le charme discret de l’intestin”, by a young German physician, Giulia Enders (the English title is quite dry and non inspired, not at all in the sense of the author’s style of writing – Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ).
Sabrina was right – this is a book everybody should read. It is not just filling in a gap in the common culture and information about our body, but it is a book explaining that the digestive system is our second brain, how it functions, what the relation is between every part of it and our health, behavior, everyday life. Plus it is very easy to read, written with a natural humor, funny, juicy, a style I think should be used in all the important books (why not school books ?).
In fact Giulia confesses she had to re-write some chapter many times after reading them aloud to her sister (and illustrator of the book), until she found the right words, the good style. Giving us vital information about the construction of our inner, it brings us also the results of the most advanced research in medicine, intriguing news about how we are made, the connections between the life experience of the body from birth on, our alimentation, sleep and way of living. And all in a tender, funny way, easy to understand and to integrate. As I went from chapter to chapter and learned something important, it made me smile every day a little, feel good and relax. Like a good novel.
No, when we are clever or stupid it is not always a matter of brain !
I have to confess, coming from a family of three generations of physicians, I wouldn’t have bought this book if it would have been my choice. I love anatomy and like everybody, I have sometimes my ready made conceptions about the vulgarisation of science. But this young woman did something really special, she’s not simplifying for all the silly mass as I wrongly a priori judged. She dresses the whole in beautiful dresses while the accuracy of this book enchanted me and soon, speaking about it often with my friends, I had to lend it to all of them. And even had to hurry to finish it!
Giulia Enders – Le charme discret de l’intestin, Edition Actes Sud, 2015
Illustrations – Jill Enders