The Miracle Of Olive Oil: Practical Tips For Health, Home & Beauty, by Dr. Penny Stanway
I enjoy olive oil as much as (or more than) most people, but this book really went above and beyond when it came to trying to promote the use of olive oil in a great many ways for people. My own interest in reading the book was rather straightforward in seeking to see how the book dealt with the issue of making one’s own olive oil, but the vast majority of the book consisted on various speculations on how olive oil can be useful for all kinds of purposes, to the point of making it seem like a panacea that can do everything from helping against cancer and inflammatory problems on the one hand to helping out with baldness and eczema on the other, to give but a few examples of its wild claims. In reading this book I was struck by just how close the author seemed to skirt the boundary of what one could say about a product without running afoul of the authorities. It does appear that the author at least was able to stay on the correct side, but this book is long on claims and short on evidence.
This book is a bit more than 100 pages long and is divided into several sections. The author introduces the book by ramping up the seriousness about the titular claim that olive oil is miraculous. After that the author discusses olive oil (1), how one can grow and press olives (2), and then what is in olive oil (3). These parts are all pretty enjoyable to read and practical for those who want to grow olives for the purpose of olive oil. After that a substantial portion of the book talks about the author’s thoughts on how olive oil can help out with various ailments (4) or as a beauty aid (5), such as dipping one’s head in olive oil to get rid of dandruff and encourage hair to grow or to put it on one’s skin as a way of clearing up eczema and acne, or to eat large amounts of it as a way of dealing with arthritis, for example. The author discusses the choice and use of olive oil in various fashions (6) as well as providing some useful recipes (7) that are also generally enjoyable to read even if they are fairly obvious, after which the book ends with some useful addresses and websites as well as an index.
Will you like this book? A lot depends on your approach. The author is not one I’m personally familiar with, nor am I all that curious about her writings, but she has written previous books about the miracle of cider vinegar, lemons, and sodium bicarbonate, as well as books about freeing one’s inner artist and supporting the cause of breastfeeding children. By and large it looks like the author is trying to appeal to gullible women who want simple and inexpensive products that offer considerable help in various aspects of health, beauty, and home cleaning. This book certainly fits in that particular trend, but it does tend to alienate me as a reader. For my purposes at least, the best parts of this book were at the beginning and end and the middle was rather disappointing in the way that the author spent most of it speculating about how olive oil could magically resolve all kinds of problems with one’s digestion and complexion. Even if you are a fan of olive oil, this book is way more embarrassing than one might be able to stand concerning the subject, sort of like that overenthusiastic support for something that makes one cringe to hear it, or to read it.