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

51lfPgMOiML._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Okay, this book might weird some people out, but for those like me who are into science and biology and anatomy and the like, it’s a very interesting read!

Mary Roach explores the many different places human cadavers can find themselves once they’ve left the world of the living. Many of them I wasn’t to surprised to hear about. Gross anatomy labs, crash test facilities, funeral homes, crematories, and even compost. Something I didn’t know about before was beating-heart cadavers. These are people who have been declared brain dead (which is the official way to determine if someone is dead or not) but they are kept alive so their organs can be retrieved and given to people waiting on the organ donor list.

What was really a learning experience for me was all the history Roach put into her novels regarding cadavers (be warned, it does get a bit bleak and rather gruesome at times). She covers things from graver robbers to pre-modern anatomy studies, studies exploring the location of ones soul, and even touches on the crucifixion.

Very much a book like no other, Mary Roach has written an accessible, insightful novel about a subject that, at some point in all our lives, will be important, and something we have to think about. If you’re not too squeamish, have a general interest in science or are just looking for something unusual to read, I would recommend this book.

~Ren

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