Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers by Mary Roach

Title: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers
Author: Mary Roach
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 304
Genre: Non-Fiction

In the Heart of the Sea
What happens to your body after you have died? Fertilizer? Crash Test Dummy? Human Dumpling? Ballistics Practise?

Life after death is not as simple as it looks. Mary Roach's Stiff lifts the lid off what happens to our bodies once we have died. Bold, original and with a delightful eye for detail, Roach tells us everything we wanted to know about this new frontier in medical science. Interweaving present-day explorations with a history of past attempts to study what it means to be human Stiff is a deliciously dark investigations for readers of popular science as well as fans of the macabre.

Stiff is a no-nonsense comical look (well as comical as it can be) at what happens to your body when you die and you decide to donate to science, bury or cremate. Roach also takes an informative look at what has happened to bodies historically all in the name of science. 

There were some laugh out loud moments but on the whole I was just fascinated - how human cadavers are used post-mortem is not something the average person would typically think of and to be honest a lot of it made me queasy. 

This book is not for the faint-of-heart and if you are looking for comfort about your choice about how your body is disposed of do not read this book. Any of the possible options that could be done with a body is not comforting. Even Roach's description of being an organ donor made me think twice. In conclusion, for me personally it was probably better not to know all the details as I am a squeamish person. 

 Interesting book but made me feel quite sick.

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