Reviews for Seeing Red : The True Story of Blood


Kirkus Reviews 2012 May #1
An irreverent if anemic survey of the red stuff's roles in human culture, from Galen to the Twilight series. The information is presented beneath drippy red borders and splattered with both jokey cartoon illustrations and graphic-novel style episodes featuring a hoodie-clad researcher who hooks up with a hot young vampire. Kyi's report opens with a slashing overview of early medical theories about the circulatory system and closes with superficial speculations about why The Hunger Games and news stories about violent crimes are so popular. In between, it strings together generalities about blood rites in cultures from Matausa to our own Armed Forces and religions from Roman Catholicism to Santeria. The author also takes stabs at blood-based foods, the use of blood (particularly menstrual blood) in magic and modern forensic science, medical bloodletting, hereditary hemophilia in Europe's ruling class, vampirism, and other topics in the same vein. But readers seeking at least a basic transfusion of information about blood's physical functions or component elements will come away empty. Moreover, the trickle of specific facts doesn't extend to, for instance, naming the site of a prehistoric sacrifice stone on which traces of gore have been found or even, despite repeated reference to blood types, actually identifying--much less discussing--them. A colorful but superficial ooze of anthropology, with a few drops of biology mixed in. (further reading, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

Gr 4-7--Facts about capillaries or circulation are the type of information one might expect in a book on this topic. Instead, Kyi's title combines science, history, and pop culture. She examines how blood has been used in ritual and religion, its meaning to various cultures, and how knowledge about it has developed over time while incorporating all the sensational details that the subject allows. There is a certain irreverence inherent in both the text and cartoons amid discussions of symbols such as the blood of Christ. Frequent insets, along with a graphic narrative, feature tongue-in-cheek responses to the text and the story of Harker, a teen boy who teams up with a vampire girl to research blood. His notes and experiences become an additional focus and maximize appeal. Red highlights include blood-filled syringes, puddles, and platelets. Such topics as menstrual blood, blood as food, medical misconceptions, and breakthroughs are delivered under numerous pithy headings presented in drippy typography. Readers are connected to the information with contemporary colloquialisms and media references including Buffy and Sweeney Todd, Bella and Katniss, and actual and fictional CSI. Terry Deary's "Horrible Histories" (Scholastic) and the "You Wouldn't Want To… " series (Watts) come to mind and appear as suggestions for further reading. Impressive is the list of sources in this fully indexed work. This book is likely to be selected for the graphics, with the additional benefit of solid, if provocative, information.--Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library

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