Saturday, July 4, 2009

Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

When I mentioned to Carter the title of this book by Mary Roach she said something about how I read "scary" books. In fact, this is one of the funniest and most informative books I've read in a long time. Apparently this is the type of subject I find amusing. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers goes into detail about what really happens when you donate your body to science, new innovations in funeral options, historical background on medical uses of corpses (Have a bruise? Eat a dead person!) and how they study cadavers at accident scenes to figure out what happened.

The book also made me think about my own mortality. I've long decided that I wanted to be cremated (although I would consider some of the new ecological options that Roach mentions if they become available) and I thought about getting various family members to each take a portion of my ashes and spread them somewhere exciting (so that they would get a trip). However, Roach made an interesting observation about people who leave specific, convoluted requests about what to do with their remains; they are just attempting to exert control after they are gone. I thought that was an interesting perspective so maybe I should just donate my body to science and let my family do what they wish with the memorial service.

I could go on for a long time about this book and it even has discussion questions that don't make me cringe at the end of it. I wish I had a book club to discuss it with. I'm going to be on the lookout for Roach's other books for sure!


Carter said...

Even though I have an irrational fear of death, I am actually intrigued to know about this kind of stuff. Did you know kids love it? It would be as though I might have a bit more 'gory' information than The Savant! But, of course, this isn't a competition. ;)

ambearo said...

I think kids would love it. It talks about all sorts of interesting things without being too gory and never disrespectful. I'm not surprised I liked it since some of my fave shows are Six Feet Under and Dexter. Haha!

Carter said...

Oh I've never seen Six Feet Under but I've heard about Dexter and that sounds way too scary for me! But I'm putting my name in for this book at the library.

ambearo said...

Dexter can be a bit thrilling at times but I wouldn't say scary. Six Feet Under was never scary (it's about a funeral home run by a family- they briefly show the way the client died at the beginning of each episode but they are often funny). Interestingly, Michael Hall is in both shows but plays SUPER DIFFERENT characters. Where are you on the list for that book? Dexter is also based on books, eh?

Carter said...

I didn't know that!

Can you please review Dance, Dance, Dance, next please?

Thank you!!! m( _ _ )m