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Elisabeth Rodgers, narrating with a bright, robust, and powerfully expressive, ebullient voice, takes quick possession of Murphy Paul’s brilliantly audacious research project. Rodgers masterfully embodies the book’s authorial voice, which includes emotional richness and a good bit of wit mixed with the writer’s meticulous care and precision. Origins is largely about the potential in utero threats of pregnancy wrought by environmental factors and bad choices made by the mother-to-be. Murphy Paul does have the bono fides for the daunting task Origins represents. The authoritative voice of Jerome Groopman, MD verifies this view in his New York Times book review: “To her credit, she steers away from…sensationalism. Structuring her exploration of the subject around the nine months of her own (second) pregnancy, she provides a balanced, common-sense view of an emerging field of uncertain science.
Something more about Rodgers’ narration: she sounds pregnant. Her voice conveys that expansion of consciousness, the deep revered resonance in the belly. You can hear this in her voice. This expansion of the range of narrative mimetic empathy: there’s no narrative award category for it. But Rodgers nails it! —David Chasey
That's the claim of an exciting and provocative field known as fetal origins. Over the past 20 years, scientists have been developing a radically new understanding of our very earliest experiences and how they exert lasting effects on us from infancy well into adulthood. Their research offers a bold new view of pregnancy as a crucial staging ground for our health, ability, and well-being throughout life.
Author and journalist Annie Murphy Paul ventures into the laboratories of fetal researchers, interviews experts from around the world, and delves into the rich history of ideas about how we're shaped before birth. She discovers dramatic stories: how individuals gestated during the Nazi siege of Holland in World War II are still feeling its consequences decades later; how pregnant women who experienced the 9/11 attacks passed their trauma on to their offspring in the womb; how a lab accident led to the discovery of a common household chemical that can harm the developing fetus; how the study of a century-old flu pandemic reveals the high personal and societal costs of poor prenatal experience.
Origins also brings to light astonishing scientific findings: how a single exposure to an environmental toxin may produce damage that is passed on to multiple generations; how conditions as varied as diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness may get their start in utero; why the womb is medicine's latest target for the promotion of lifelong health, from preventing cancer to reducing obesity.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Melissa on 01-02-11
This book is full of huge amounts of fascinating information. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to anyone. There are two reasons why I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5. The book gets confused whether its an informative science book or if it's an expecting mother's guide at times. Also, I feel like she focused on only one side of certain issues. Of course this is a huge topic to cover and she does an amazing job touching on the highlights in the field while giving you enough information to give you an understanding of what she's talking about.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Anne on 04-23-11
Narration a problem
Excellent, fascinating book. The author presents a balanced approach to a loaded topic. The narrator is VERY VERY VERY difficult to tolerate. She speaks very slowly and has strange annunciation. The fact that I could listen to the entire book in spite of the narration indicates just how engaging the author's material is. I recommend reading this book instead of listening.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful