I am a huge fan of Anthony Capella and his fabulously charming foodie fables, The Food of Love, The Various Flavours of Coffee and The Empress of Ice Cream, all amongst my favourite foodie reads. So when I read that he had just released a new book, I didn’t even bother reading the blurb as I knew that it was going to be good. Doing this can lead to a few surprises and in the instance of Love and Other Dangerous Chemicals it most certainly did.
Now, by the title, I was expecting that it was a love story, and it was, kind of, sort of. And I guess also, by past experience, I assumed (wrongly) that it was going to be another foodie read. I am not sure why, but perhaps it was the suggestion of ‘chemicals’ in the title, that made me expect that maybe, it was going to include some sort of Heston Blumental laboratory creation in the way of molecular gastronomy, and while it did ‘touch’ momentarily on this subject matter, I was way off base (way off) in my assumptions.
What I didn’t expect was that it was going to end up being one of the best reads that I had read in a long time, it was going to make me laugh out loud (constantly) and I was going to learn a great deal about that mythical of womanly affectations… the orgasm… yes, you read right.
This book is hilarious, for all the right reasons. I would describe it as an intelligent read… if you are a 50 Shades die hard, while not suggesting for a moment that it is not an intelligent read (cough), you are probably not going to like this book. But if you want to read something really different that makes you laugh for the most ridiculous of reasons, then you are going to loooove Anthony Capella‘s latest triumph.
As with all of Anthony Capella’s reads, he takes love and the many human follies that accompany it and exploits its vast array of anomalies.
In a nutshell, Love and other Dangerous Chemicals is about the somewhat awkward Steven Fisher, a brilliant biochemist who is in search of the cure to FSD (Female Sexual Dysfunction – women who don’t or can’t easily have orgasms, if you need me to spell it out for you). He develops a drug, which is essentially a female version of Viagra, but there is a complication…
Enter Annie Gluck, a sexually disinterested student of English Literature who, at the request of her boyfriend (and supervisor), enters the KXC79 research program headed by the previously mentioned, endearing, yet somewhat socially handicapped, Dr Fisher, who endeavour to ‘cure’ her of her ‘disinterest’. What ensues is a repartee of deceit, misunderstanding and treachery as everyone clambers to get their hands on this female wonder dru,g when it may really all be down to that unfathomable emotion… love.
Without spoiling the story, Love and other Dangerous Chemicals explores the enigmatic female orgasm in such detail that the reader will tend to feel like they have completed a PhD of their own, enlightening to say the least! Who would have thought that humans share such close behavioural links with Bonobos.
If you are a prude, be warned, this is a love story like no other, but it is without a doubt a FANTASTIC read and I loved every second of it.
What I loved most is the footnotes that Capella includes throughout the book. Usually footnotes bore me to tears and are hardly worth reading, but these footnotes are not your regular footnotes and I frequently found myself bursting into fits of laughter as the footnotes took on a life of their own.
And then there are the ‘figures’ – if they don’t make you laugh, then clearly you have no sense of humour.
Lastly, it will have you wondering what sexual dysfunction really means and whether it isn’t all really down to chemistry anyway.
Please Anthony, hurry up and write another book – I finished this one way too soon.
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