Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Because I Said So by Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings rocketed to fame with his record winning streak on Jeopardy!. That alone was enough for me to pick up his new book, Because I Said So, because I was one of those people who tuned in every night to see if he could ever be stopped (who knew a final Jeopardy question about FedEx would be his demise?!). However, once I saw what this book was about, I knew I was going to be hooked (and I was within the first couple of paragraphs): debunking the myths and old wives’ tales we’ve all heard from our parents and have probably told our children.

Jennings presents 125 myths and old wives’ tales, which he researched for scientific evidence to prove or disprove (think of it as reading a Myth Busters episode). Each entry ends with the final result: True, False, Mostly True, or Mostly False.

I recognized almost every single “quote” Jennings researched, mainly because I’ve heard them from either my grandparents’ or parents’ lips at some point in my life (and yes, I have caught myself saying the same thing to my son). If you’ve never been told to wait an hour after swimming because you might cramp up, your parents are way cooler than mine!

All the myths are broken into categories, which include “Don’t Pick at That,” featuring the great home remedies and cure alls; “Look Both Ways Before You Cross the Street,” which includes all the ways the world is out to get you; and “It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Loses an Eye,” with includes more eye myths than I realized existed until seeing them all bunched together.

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how many of these sayings are actually true, or at least partially. Chicken soup really is one of the best things you can take for cold symptoms. You really shouldn’t pop a blister. But I also enjoyed the ones that were so very wrong, it was almost comical. You won’t get worms by going barefoot outside. Christmas poinsettias won’t make you sick. And most importantly, don’t drink castor oil if you’re having stomach issues.

The Dewey number for this book is 031.20, which puts in the books of miscellaneous facts section. While that is certainly appropriate, I would recommend shelving this book in either a front display where fans of Jennings can see his name and pick it up or near a parenting section where it will either be picked up by curious new parents like me or old timers who want to see just how right they were. The most important thing, though, is that you add it (oh, and that you read it yourselves—you won’t be disappointed!).


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