Book Review: Code Brown

Code Brown: 13 Humorous True-Life Tales About Poop (Yes, Poop)Code Brown: 13 Humorous True-Life Tales About Poop by Garrett Calcaterra
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Writing is observation, and not all that we observe is rose colored or scented. Just because a story involves one of the least attractive of all body functions doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value.

Still with me? Good, I never doubted you. I believe in you.

Code Brown is an entertaining collection of short stories thematically connected by the GOOD OLD NUMBER TWO. Also see: caca, poop, crap, shit, excrement, feces, etc.

For some this might be off-putting so editor Garrett Calcaterra does his best to explain the merit for such a theme in the introduction for the book. But for my money, if someone picks up this book and thinks, hey this will be fun, then I don’t think you need to justify the material. Just do it.

And if you’re offended by the subject matter, then you’ll never pick up the book anyway.


I have a number of great poop stories and no one bothered to ask me to contribute. Garrett, if you are reading this…the way to put together a successful sequel to this toilet tome is to include something written by me. Please put me on the short list. Thank you.

There are thirteen stories in Code Brown, all are extremely well written, humorous, and address the scatological nature of the book in a manner that I think any kind of reader would find very acceptable. Some standouts include Holly Vance’s tale of interpersonal boundaries, Shannon Medisky’s warning to watch what you eat, and John Fox’s guide to divining your own feces. Overall, it’s a well-balanced collection of poop stories.

Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would write.

If you’re like me, you love a great story. Code Brown is full of them. That’s as close to a poop reference as I am going to make. Seriously, I cannot impart upon you how much restraint was required by the reviewer to not fall into a swirling pool of metaphor, analogy, and word play. A book like this just wants you to pinch a few off, if you get my drift.

A mildly related closing note: As I read Garrett’s introduction, my cat walked into the room and farted. In ten years, I have never heard the cat fart. Smelled yes, but never a clear audible. My guess is that she also approves of the book.

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