Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

October Books 2) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach

The family of UM 006 does not know what happened to him this evening. They know only that he donated his remains for use in medical education or research.
Having read Mary Roach's books on sex and space, I was looking forward to reading her book about death, which is after all the one thing that will happen to all of us. In the end I found it a little disappointing; it was her first book, and the compassionate, witty but explicit style which makes her more recent books so successful is less well developed here. And in the end it's just a series of stories about scientists working on things that used to be (parts of) people, and the story is very much focussed on the scientists rather than their subjects. Yes, there's a considerable squick factor in a lot of it; this is all very sensitive stuff. But it didn't light up for me as I had hoped. I guess that corpses are simply not very entertaining, which is as it should be.

One rather grim point arising: it's never too early to think about organ donation. Here in Belgium we have presumed consent; that may not be the case in your country.
Tags: bookblog 2013, deaths, writer: mary roach

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