Title: Leonardo’s Foot: How 10 Toes, 52 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World
Author: Carol Ann Rinzler
Source: from publisher for review
Fun Fact: Koala’s have two opposable thumbs on each of their hands and one on each of their feet
Review Summary: The author’s conversational style was both a strength (funny! approachable!) and a weakness (oh the rambling).
The goodreads description of Leonardo’s Foot claims that it will “[stretch] back to the fossil record and forward to recent discoveries in evolutionary science to demonstrate that it was our feet rather than our brains that first distinguished us from other species”. In reality, I found it be far more playful and less goal oriented. This book covers everything from evolution to foot fetishes to famous people with foot-related illnesses.
I could tell from the first page that I was going to like the author’s conversational writing style. She’s often funny and clearly excited to share with you all sorts of fun facts related to feet. Actually, a lot of the time I felt like I was listening to a friend who had just read such an exciting wikipedia article that they couldn’t wait to tell someone about it. This was largely a good thing and made for enjoyable reading.
There was, however, one problem with the casual tone of the book. One advantage of reading a book instead of just listening to an excited wikipedia-reading friend is that the author has had time to organize their thoughts. Sometimes it seemed like that step got skipped here. It rambled. It digressed. It took such long detours to get to some fun facts that I completely forgot where we started. In some cases, such as run on sentences, that might be fixed (I had a pre-print copy). In other cases, there were uninteresting and unrelated anecdotes that should have been cut earlier. There were also sections were there was waaaay too much detail. I found this particularly confusing in the anatomy sections which were accompanied by equally confusing pictures.
At the end of the day, while this book could have been stronger, it was still a very fun read. I love authors who are enthusiastic about their topic, knowledgeable, and funny. Rinzler was very much all of these things. The book also had a ton of fun little tidbits, which are one of my favorites parts of non-fiction. Most highly recommended to other people who also enjoy some good trivia.