By Richard DawkinsECCO, $27.99, 320 pages
Eminent sociobiologist Richard Dawkins, and writer of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion fame, narrates the story of his formative years in his memoir An Appetite for Wonder. Starting with his early childhood spent in Africa to his return to England and later starting research in animal behavior at Oxford University, Dawkins shares with readers, for the first time, his early life experiences that shaped his views and directed his career in sociobiology.
“My first school reports dwelt insistently on the theme of ink.”
Written in an engaging voice, Dawkins’ story has fair value beyond his personal narrative. Through his memories, readers also get a sense of the cultural evolution in the past half-century in the world. The family pictures included in the book are an asset. However, the later chapters are more academic-centered and lose the excitement of the personal voice. Also, readers are left wondering about the details of his deeper adherence to atheism for which he is known today.
For an academic figure of Dawkins’ stature, An Appetite for Wonder certainly isn’t the complete story to quench the thirst of millions of followers. Most likely, they’ll be waiting for another memoir in his post-The Selfish Gene life, particularly his journey to The God Delusion, a blockbuster that established his indelible image as an atheist scholar across the globe.
Reviewed by Ernest Dempsey