BOOKbeat review

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“Stiff” by Mary Roach February 8, 2009

Filed under: Non-fiction,Science — bookbeat @ 11:41 pm

If you’re looking for an interesting book club discussion or an educational yet humorous addition to your bookshelf, I have the perfect book for you. Stiff is an intriguing and (at some parts) grisly book exploring what exactly happens to our bodies after we leave them.

Most of the chapters discuss the many uses of bodies that have been donated to science. The first thing that comes to mind when you hear this is usually the routine first-year medical cadaver dissection. The book faithfully discusses this, but also adds in some more shocking dissection stories that are sure to make your phalanges curl.

Mary Roach visits medical hot spots around the world to get professional opinions and provide you with some of the oddest cadaver stories to date. After reading this book, it is fascinating to me that she can sleep at night after seeing all of the things that she describes in her book. She recounts her visits to such unpleasant places as a morgue and a field where bodies are laid out in the sun (for a study on decompisition, of course).

So if you have even for a second wondered about what happens to the thousands of bodies donated to science each year, I highly recommend a trip to the library to check out Stiff. It is sure to teach you something new and probably leave you with your mouth agape by the end of it.