Monday, May 13, 2013
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Mary Roach into what happens to bodies after death in every possible way. She writes about donating bodies to science, being used as a test dummy, how cremation works and where mortuary science is headed, among dozens of other things. This is a sticky book, one that I have been thinking about a lot since I started reading. On a flight to Medellin, I remembered an interview from the novel which states that it is safest to have a window seat near an exit row. Guess where I sat? When I get in a packed taxi, I take heed Roach's suggestion that the middle seat in the back is safest. Like Malcolm Gladwell's books, Stiff is packed with information to which I will continue to refer back.
Why won't I be recommending it to my kids? It's pretty gruesome. Throughout history, cadavers have not been very well treated and Roach doesn't shy away from touchy subjects. I think that it would cause nightmares for some students, especially those who have lost a loved one. Still, I have a few students that I will track down in about four years and say, "Check this book out. You'll love it."