Reviewed by Jill Elizabeth

Today’s book review is a cute little trip through the garden of rhetoric.

The book for today is Does a Bear Sh*t in the Woods? by Caroline Taggart. Well, does it? Who knows really – probably hunters, loggers, and zoologists. Oh yeah, and apparently Taggart, the author of this goofy little book about the answers to rhetorical questions.

Rhetorical questions, for those of you who are out of the intellectual loop, are questions that are asked – usually for dramatic oratorical effect or emphasis – for which no answer is expected. (This is my definition, not anyone else’s, hence the lack of attribution.) I love rhetorical questions – I rather love words, as I’ve pointed out before, and I think rhetoric is a fabulous way to play with language.

The book is an aggregation of a series of rhetorical questions from literature, music, and popular culture, with answers provided. Some of the answers are clever and designed to amuse, some contain actual information, and some are just plain silly. It’s a fun little book that will teach you a few fun little facts to trot out at cocktail parties or whenever else you might need small talk.

There is no author biography provided, but Taggart appears to be British from some of her linguistic choices, and the book is deliciously snarky a few times. I wish it had been snarkier, frankly – snark being one of my favorite components of any book that falls within the “trivia/humor” book category. It was a little too light and fluffy at times for my taste; I could have used less of the “well, that’s really up to the speaker to decide” type of answers (admittedly applicable to more than a few rhetorical questions, but neither particularly informative nor entertaining in a book intended to be humorous) and of the references to pop music and more of the historical/literary references with actual facts and information to explain their origins and meanings.

But that may just be me.

Does a Bear Sh*t in the Woods? was cute though, and the premise was a clever and kitschy one – and I do enjoy clever and kitschy. Don’t expect to walk away with a profound understanding of the meaning of life, but you can expect to walk away with a grin and having giggled more than once. And really, isn’t that what humor/trivia is about?

Rating: 3/5

A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill-Elizabeth walked away from that world (well, skipped actually) and toward a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable). If you enjoyed this review, please visit her at Jill-Elizabeth.com, the official home of All Things Jill-Elizabeth – that is, all of the teehees, musings, rants, book reviews, writing exercises, and witticisms of her burgeoning writing career.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Plume. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.