Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach As the subtitle proclaims, this is about human cadavers. Corpses. Dead Bodies. For all that, I found this a ... lively book. One thoroughly entertaining and informative even if at times gross. It helps that I'm not made particularly squeamish about the written word. There were instances in the book that had I been there with Mary Roach looking upon decomposing corpses or the embalming room I might have puked--so those so weak of stomach that they can imagine their stomach churning just at the thought of this subject--probably not for you. It's probably also not for those people who identify people closely with their bodies. More than once I've been in the room when someone died. They didn't look like they had fallen asleep to me--nothing could be less than the person I loved than the body they had left, so I can read about all these "curious lives" of human remains and frankly it didn't bother me. What came closest to making me upset was the description of how people die in automobile accidents. I had a friend who died that way, and there it was much harder not to feel an excruciating identification. So yes, you read this and it can be hard not to have memories of the death and dying you've known come up. So was this book morbid, creepy, mournful? Not really. This is where the author's style does help a lot. Because Roach often is so witty, so darkly humorous, it was impossible for me to find this book a downer. I didn't, as some seem to, find this laugh-out-loud funny--but it was an absorbing, engaging and well-researched book that delved into all sorts of areas, the "body snatchers" who provided corpses to doctors, forensics, cannibalism and even the mystery of just what happens when a person is shot. It's the kind of book that definitely makes me want to read more by the author.