Sperm Are from Men, Eggs Are from Women 

While it's not necessarily a sure sign of doom for the title of a book to be a riff on another (very famous and recognizable) book, it certainly doesn't drive a hard sell.

In fact, Sperm Are from Men, Eggs Are from Women: The Real Reason Men and Women Are Different is a quick, decently interesting read, if a little humble in its science-lite content. The author, Joe Quirk, is essentially a failed novelist with a hobbyist's interest in biology and mating behavior, and refers to himself as an amateur more times than necessary. The book's primary advantage is that it's like having human sexual behavior explained to you by a crazy, half-drunk nerd. Using scientific evidence gleaned through behavioral studies of many species of animals, Quirk punctuates his theories with corny yuk-yuk jokes. It seems a little counterintuitive to seek information from someone who isn't the good doctor himself, but Quirk's so guilelessly sweet that you'd rather hear his interpretation of things anyway.

Admittedly, Quirk's repor­ting of research studies and his arrangement of the subject matter is clarifying in its lay terms and compart- mentalizing. It's when he begins to go out on a theoretical limb that things get tremulous. Regardless, he has collected a stimulating pool of research on which to expound. For instance, I thought his theory on prostitution was Swiss cheese, but I loved hearing about female penguins pros­tituting themselves to male penguins for little rocks.

Quirk never quite manages to compellingly articulate a big picture out of his data. At times the book feels like something he did because his original ambition wasn't making him famous. That may be why the chapters end with paperback cliffhangers like, "Mother Nature cursed men with intense feelings to protect their reproductive interests... If you want to discover what they are, sleep with your guy's best friend."

If I were in the market for hard science, I wouldn't have selected this tome—but as a primer in pillow talk for dorks, it's appealing.

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