read: 26 November 2006
This book seemed like it would not be poppy, but in the end it was poppy. There was a lot of good information in it, but I had the sense that Sullivan’s reach was exceeding his grasp. The premise is straightforward: author spends time in a NYC alleyway to study rats. And then, in that good trusty NPR format, he waxes poetic about things like Thoreau, the history of New York and the idea of scavengers generally. I enjoyed the book but I found that the diversions seemed to be trying to hard and the vocabulary was a bit too rich for what was essentially a fun, not particularly revealing experiment (rats live in alleys, eat garbage, act like rats). I think I would have liked this book better if it was longer, and had more rat information and less pontificating by the author. A lot of the conclusions he was drawing “many of us have never seen a rat up close before” didn’tring at all true to country bumpkin old me who has had to trap them in her own house. Light reading for yuppies.
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