Spineless - Reviews

"Part travelogue, part memoir, part deep-dive (literally)into the world of jellyfish...Spineless can serve as inspiration for any of us to reclaim a creative space in the midst of family life."—NPR

Spineless is as mesmerizing, surprising, and beautiful as the jellyfish itself. Every page contains some astonishing treasure. If you cherish the sea, if you care about the environment, if you relish life on this sweet, blue planet, you will love this book.” —Sy Montgomery, New York Times–bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus

“[Spineless is] fascinating... This combination of insider and outsider perspective is uniquely suited to a book on creatures whose internal organs are visible through transparent outer layers.” —Wall Street Journal

“[Berwald’s] sense of wonder is infectious and the book is a heartfelt plea for humans to fulfill their responsibilities toward nature.” —New Yorker

“In this memoir/science-reporting mash-up, [Berwald] profiles one of the ocean's most intriguing creatures—the unique contractions it uses to propel through water, its acidifying habitat and its booming populations.” —Scientific American

“An astonishingly gorgeous book... Science enthusiasts, curious animal lovers, and those who want to educate themselves more on climate change’s effect on our oceans will find this book irresistible.” W Magazine

“Berwald offers an engrossing look at the enigmatic sea creature most easily recognised in its swimming ‘medusa’ form. . . . A revelatory science memoir.” —BBC Culture

“It’s a story of personal discovery, rediscovery of the underwater world, and an earth-spanning journey to study these complex creatures, all the while throwing into stark relief the importance of understanding and protecting our increasingly endangered marine ecosystems.”Southern Living

“It morphs with disarming ease from memoir complete with wacky characters, sharp dialogue, and unexpectedly touching moments to natural history infused with curiosity and no small degree of wonder… The ‘jellyfish journey’ of Spineless is strange and ultimately quite charming.”Open Letters Monthly

“Berwald excels at depicting the wonder and appreciation she has gained for the strange, gelatinous creatures and the ocean that sustains them... Jellyfish are fascinating in part because there's so much more to find out about them. In Spineless, Berwald demonstrates that our oceans represent a scientific frontier at least as exciting and promising as space, and posits jellyfish as a prime candidate for study and appreciation.” Shelf Awareness

“In this astonishing adventure of a book, Juli Berwald takes us on a personal journey into the enchanting and mystifying aqueous world of jellyfish, and in so doing, sheds light on the vital ecological balances upon which our own survival depends.” —Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
“Like Bernd Heinrich, Juli Berwald illuminates an entire ecosystem through the lens of one remarkable group of creatures. I learned something from every page, not only about jellyfish but about the crucial role of marine scientists and their studies.” —Andrea Barrett, author of Archangel and The Voyage of the Narwhal
“With lucid, gorgeous, arresting language, Juli Berwald opens a rare window on the adventures of scientists at work, capturing the fabulously ingenious ways they make sense of our world. Spineless will leave you awestruck, revering the ever-more fragile brilliance of life on Earth.” —Miriam Horn, author of Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman