This is the kind of book that I really want to like. It is jam-packed full of information about reproduction, biology, life cycles, etc. I was impressed with the documentation and with the wealth of knowledge.
So why only 2. There are a couple of reasons: It's written like an advice column in Cosmo or something. But the "answers" ramble on and on and she'll make disparate points in one "answer," it doesn't seem to gel together for me. Also it's a lot of the same kind of stuff over and over, and while there was some truly fascinating things in here, I feel like I'm going to forget most of this information within a week.
There was nothing to make the separate pieces of information stick in my head, with few exceptions which had more to do with shocking reality of things--like in the spotted hyena's case--than with her writing. I've read other books and articles that deal with similar topics and the writers manage to make the information novel enough and different enough to stay in my memory.
The tone of the book. Because it's written like a Cosmo column, the persistent "I'm super cool and sassy" delivery distracted me and got old pretty quickly. She anthropomorphizes a lot a lot a lot which I don't have an issue with in itself, really, it just seems to make things more confusing in this case. She seems to think "radical feminists" hate men and want to destroy them.
Which I found odd, since she's apparently a pretty smart scientist degrees from Stanford, Oxford and the vast majority of her acknowledgements go to males; you'd think she'd know better than anyone the challenges women face in the sciences. But maybe that's exactly the problem--maybe in order to make it that far she's had to ingratiate herself or something. But I do know I didn't appreciate that aspect of it.
Her prose is lively and entertaining, remarkably so for what often boils down to biological studies of insects. What I really found invaluable about this book was her insistence that people look at real science rather than a few pseudo-scientific ideas that support various social standpoints. I wish I'd had this back when I lived Judson's stylistic conceit -- various species writing to an advice column about their sex lives -- is clever and well-done, although it does get tired upon repetition.
I wish I'd had this back when I lived in the Midwest and constantly had people telling me that women had to stay home with the kids because of "biological design.