Stiff is one of Mary Roach's finest to date. She takes the reader gently by the hand and walks us through a world few ever think about - the uses for what's left of us after we die. Stiff is a revealing, and frankly quite funny, look at the hundreds of practical uses for cadavers and Mary doesn't disappoint in the span of industries and geographical scope involved in her quest. Regardless of your religious bent, Stiff will open your eyes to the necessity of cadavers and perhaps make you think twice about your final arrangements.
The book takes a look back in history, covering some of the more primitive uses for cadavers in medical science and experimentation. It also looks forward to projects currently in development examining "greener" ways to dispose of the billions of people of our planet today (can we say, compost anyone?). It's not necessarily for the squeamish, although you'll probably find yourself so caught up in the fascinating facts and scenarios, you aren't even bothered by the mental imagery. In any case, you'll be thankful to Mary for "undertaking" such an endeavor, so the rest of us didn't have to!
Definitely worth a read and perhaps some book club discussion.
"Being dead is unsightly, stinky, and embarrassing", states author Mary Roach, but she also shows us just how interesting it can be in this amazingly well written book. Her prose is precise, conversational, and even entertaining at times without being disrespectful to her "subjects". From forensic body farms to car crash impact studies, from practicing surgical procedures to testing ballistics, and on to research into such off-the-wall subjects as ancient uses for poo and … more