Book Review: Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey

Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey is a book that offers a slightly different look at America around the time of the Revolution. Everyone studies the history of how and why we came here, the politics, the wars, and the important history of the day. However, aside from visits to historical times we rarely consider how average people lived in 1770. The book offers all the gross and gory details about the lack of bathing, bugs, rotting teeth, and filthy streets.

Ick! Yuck! Eew! is aptly named, and I do not suggest eating while reading. When you pay a visit to one of the historical houses or towns that have reenactments you might realize how much you love your modern conveniences. However, you might not realize that the individuals pretending to live in the past are not quite true to the time. The location is clean, and so are the actors. However, in the real 1770 bathing was a rarity, as were clean clothes, and bug free beds or food. there was no running water, so waste was just tossed out into the streets or the yard, there was no refrigeration or plastic for food storage so rotten and buggy food was common. Good times, right? Yuck! The book is framed in the story of hopping in a time machine and walking the streets in June of 1770, and after reading all the facts and gross details any reader will but thankful to be here today instead of in the past.

If you have ever thought that you were born in the wrong era, and that you would rather have lived in colonial America or perhaps even earlier, Ick! Yuck! Eew! is the book to disabuse you of that notion. While the romantic picture of the past can be fun to dream about, or read about in historical fiction, the reality was much less enjoyable. This is a great book for introducing the idea of how good we really have it, history lessons on early America, or just grossing out someone that might enjoy it.

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