Have You Heard About... Because I Said So

… the dangers of swallowing gum or looking in the microwave? Ken Jennings looks at many of the things our parents warned us about in Because I Said So! The Truth behind the Myths, Tales & Warnings Every Generation Passes down to Its Kids. Parents all over the world tell their children to do or not do certain things, often things they learned from their own parents or friends and family members with children. However, over generations that information can become outdated or misremembered, so Jennings collected dozens of common sayings from the United States and looked into the truth behind them.

Each of the warnings in this book is followed by a brief explanation of the author’s research and his conclusions. Scientific and medical studies are cited, where appropriate, and summarized in everyday English. In some cases, Jennings has been able to provide a history of how the warning was started. At the end, there is a simple bar with a rating from completely false to completely true. Not surprisingly, most of the sayings fall somewhere in the middle — true in some circumstances but not always, or not completely true as they are usually stated. Fortunately, the book includes an index, in case you want to start with your parents’ favorite warnings (or the one you’re about to use with your own child).

By the way, swallowed gum is safely passed through the digestive system (unless you are swallowing several pieces every day for a long time) and looking into modern microwaves should be safe, although the FDA recommends against standing against one for “long periods of time” while it is running.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)