Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach


By turns ghastly and intriguing, this nonfiction piece looks at what happens to our bodies after we die, particularly for cadavers willed to science. The realities are somewhat unsettling, but Roach treats the subject with a light, irreverent tone that reminds us we have nothing to fear once dead and no reason to try to control what happens to our bodies. After all, it is irrelevant because SOMETHING is going to happen to us all eventually, none of the choices are particularly dignified, and we won’t be around to call the shots anyway 🙂

My husband asked WHY I was reading this…I replied that I simply didn’t know. Stiff had been on my TBR for quite some time, and I was in the mood for something DIFFERENT. Well, different it is. And I loved it. It is by turns well-informed and full of useless trivia, and only a tad disturbing. It might make you gag, but Stiff likely won’t cause any sleepless nights. It’s worth a read, if you’ve ever wondered how long a dead body will actually stay preserved when embalmed, what might happen to corpses sent to universities for research, how exactly medical examiners can determine precise times of death, or what innovative new methods of body disposal might be around if you aren’t too keen on cremation or traditional burial. Fascinating.

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