Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Stiff by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach is both an informative and interesting read for anyone who is curious about what happens to the human body after a person passes away. It is by no means a book that everyone should read - only because of the sensitivities of the reader. However, if the reader does not mind reading about the subject matter, they are in for a very rich read.

The book describes the different ways that a human body may be used if given up for science. This leads to a variety of research destinations for the author, from medical school to body farms to testing/research facilities. However, in each one of these areas, she interviews individuals who care and use these bodies and what the work means to each of them. This is an interesting point of view - it is comforting to see that an individual is cared for even when he/she is already gone.

Along the way, Roach provides anecdotes from history in which human bodies were not as well cared for - these serve as an intricate comparison to how it is today as well as interesting facts to retell to others.

All in all, I found this book an extremely well-written read and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject matter. It is told in an interesting, respectful yet humorous way and serves to provide the reader with as much information as possible about the possibilities.

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