Review: Gavin Francis – Shapeshifters

Shapeshifters
Gavin Francis

Humans have an enormous capacity for change. “In Shapeshifters, physician and writer Gavin Francis considers the inevitable changes all of our bodies undergo–such as birth, puberty, and death, but also laughter, sleeping, and healing.”

I started reading this book, and then put it down in favour of something else. When I picked it up again, I had to start from Chapter 1 because I honestly didn’t remember what came before that. That first chapter is one of the most interesting ones – what I would think of as true ‘shapeshifters’ such as the biology behind the myth of werewolves. After this there are discussions of pregnancy, menopause, tattoos and other body changes. Which are interesting, but just not what I expected.

This book read as a bit of a jumbled mess that I found difficult to follow and thus enjoy. I’m not sure what the purpose of this book was. It is an exploration of old folk tales and history combined with the author’s clinical practice. For me, I would have liked to hear more about the clinical practice so that I could link it to what I was reading about. If I had wanted to read Ovid’s Metamorphoses, I would have done so earlier!

Pick this up if you are interested in finding out the links between clinical practice and ancient texts, but don’t go expecting to hear about supernatural shape shifting. You may or may not learn something interesting from this book – it just wasn’t for me.

Allen & Unwin | 23rd May 2018 | AU$32.99 | hardback

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