Cyrus the Virus

D.J. Chakraborty

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 94 Price: (paperback) $26.99 ISBN: 9781664156203 Reviewed: November, 2021 Author Website: Visit »

Cyrus the Virus is a collage of a book about how to obtain and maintain good health. In keeping with the times, it contains information about COVID-19 but also ranges through such topics as germs and viruses, pollution, ecosystems and protective biomes, photosynthesis, overpopulation, hygiene, Typhoid Mary, Henrietta Lacks and Aldo Leopold.

The book delivers a myriad of structures, from limericks and lists to music and narrative. The gist is that wellness comes from cleanliness and an affirmation of nature and harmony. “Life began in the Garden of Eden,” author D.J. Chakraborty states, “therefore humanity can only be redeemed through the garden by reconciling with nature.” To that end, the author recommends “environmental stewardship,” bioremediation, a restoration of protective biomes and, of course, “cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and facilities” and washing hands and showering.

Chakraborty’s strength lies in her ability to see the big picture: for instance, how overpopulation and the destruction of the environment can lead to pandemics and how inconsideration and uncleanliness can lead to the spread of viruses. Her ability to call up numerous related topics, however, leads to the book’s primary flaw: In a volume this short, she cannot hope to explain multiple topics, such as Lacks’ cellular contribution to medicine, Leopold’s early environmentalism, how population might realistically be controlled “by building a space station/bubble on Mars” or how “inviolate local vegetation” kept people from contracting illnesses in the past. (What about the Plague and the Spanish Flu?)

The book’s projected audience (ages 9 to adult) is also problematic. Many of the narrative passages are clearly at adult level, while some of the recommended projects and lists (stages in shower-taking, for example) are apparently for children.

While praiseworthy for its scope, Cyrus the Virus should be divided into two books and expanded to reach the disparate audiences.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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