Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem For two thousand years, cadavers some willingly, some unwittingly have been involved in science s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them. In my nonfiction phase during the year, I grabbed this one and after finishing it, regretted its purchase The book is about medical use of corpses and the human body, present day and in the past The subject matter is extremely interesting, and some of the methods, tests, and history behind human body experiments is worth the read The book makes you want to be an organ donor, or want to donate your body to medical science The problem is that the author is one of the WORST writers I have ever read to the extent that every time I picked up the book I got angry I only finished the book because my OCD made me finish it because I d already started it The two irritating aspects of the book are 1 Roach would spend a few pages describing something fascinating and then ruin it all by throwing in the snarkiest comment imaginable For example, she d discuss how feet are used by scientists, and then throw in a comment about her stinky socks 2 A few years ago, a friend saw a movie about the roads to concentration camps at the Tribeca Film Festival that was atrocious because the director stuck himself into the film and made himself part of the story That s what this author does for the whole friggin book Just awful. Mary Roach writes about what happens when you donate your body to science Hilarity ensues Well, maybe not hilarity but it is a good dose of edutainment.Way back around the time the earth s crust cooled and life spread across the planet, late 1994 or early 1995, I should think, I visited a chiropractic college with the rest of my Advanced Biology class This trip was memorable to me for three reasons 1 It was the first time I experienced an excruciating caffeine withdrawal headache2 It was the first time I saw a human cadaver3 I smoked five of my classmates playing pool in the student lounge at lunch.Obviously, 2 is the one pertinent to this review, although I am still quite proud of 3 The cadaver I saw had its face covered and its skin looked shriveled, somewhat like beef jerky My 17 year old mind briefly wondered where the man had come from before my hormone fueled brain returned my attention to the nubile young ladies in the room Anyway, let s get down to review business.Mary Roach manages to take a subject that give many people the heebie jeebies, donating one s remains to science, and makes it humorous at times She covers such topics as learning surgical techniques via practicing on cadavers, human decomposition, ingesting human remains for medicinal purpose, using corpses in car crash tests, using cadavers for ballistics tests, crucifixion experiments, and even head transplants.While it s not ideal meal time reading, I didn t find it as stomach churning as some reviewers did The talk of decomposition and quack remedies of the Middle ages were fascinating and I was really interested in the head and brain transplant experiments Frankenstein s monster doesn t seem as unrealistic as it did yesterday.Apparently, necrophilia is only illegal in 16 states Imagine if that was one of your criteria when choosing a place to live Honey, I d love to live in Florida but then we couldn t have our sexy parties Actually, the funeral bits were also pretty enlightening Did you know they have to suture the anus shut to keep nastiness from leaking out during a funeral Or that dead people can fart from gas trapped in their intestines Or that they insert special caps underneath the eyelids to keep them from suddenly opening Fascinating stuff.Stiff is a very interesting read for those interested in what happens when you donate your body to science, softened somewhat by Roach s sense of humor Three easy stars. Omg and Grossness I made the mistake of trying to eat a bit while reading this Just no And then a part where they talk about left over skin being used for wrinkle stuff and something to do with penises I didn t even look up the word they used Although, now, if a penis was ever whipped out somewhere, I would have to wonder if that penis had something to do with cadaver skin I did have to skip over stuff due to my ewww reflex But there is a lot of stuff I learned that I had no idea about There is a lot of historical stuff too And the cadaver drive test dummies I can t even So if you re one that is going to donate your organs, just know that no part of your body will go to waste Well, most of it Mel First read of 2017 complete It was a good one 4.5 stars.Who knew that a book about what happens to our bodies after we die could be so interesting This book covers everything to the horrific to the incredibly fascinating This book may not be for the squeamish, but I think Roach did a great job combining information and humor in a respectful manner to make it easily accessible to a wider audience.I recently helped to prepare a funeral plan for my Mother She is still alive, but it was suggested that we prepare ahead of time to make sure that all wishes are met and there is no scrambling when the event happens to figure out what is wanted and where the money comes from less stressful for all After reading this book, I am not saying I will go back and change any of our decisions, but it definitely gave me a lot of thinking points I would not have considered and may have had an affect on how my decision making went if I had read this before the planning took place.After death the inanimate body lives on and something has to be done with it read this if you want to know Side note This is my second Mary Roach I also read Gulp Adventures on the Alimentary Canal and I liked this one a bit better. Laugh out loud funny is the way to go if you want to learn than you realized might be worth knowing about dead bodies It made me greatly disposed to finding out what else Roach has written, before I become a subject for studies like this one And here are reviews of what we found Grunt Gulp Packing for Mars Spook Mary Roach details a lot of uses for human cadavers in this book, but she missed a major one As Weekend At Bernies taught us, you can always use the corpse of your boss to scam your way into a free weekend at a beach house That scientific research is all well and good, but there s nothing in here at all about the best ways to simulate a life like corpse for your own selfish purposes I learned from Andrew McCarthy than I did reading this Ah, but seriously folks This is the second book I ve read by Roach, and I admire the way that she can take touchy and gross subjects like corpses in this one or human feces in Packing for Mars, treat them seriously but still manage to keep a sense of humor about them While she always has one eye on the science, she never uses it to shield out the normal human responses, and this allows her to provide a clear eyed account of the uses and disposal of the dead One of my favorite parts involved Roach asking someone how heads were removed from cadavers for surgical practices and was told that one woman in the lab removed them all She later met the woman who actually did the chopping and Roach admits that all she could think was, You cut off heads So we get treated to a gory set of stories about how science uses corpses in a variety of ways including the study of impacts for the auto industry, how a brain dead woman s organs are removed by a transplant team, and a field of bodies left to rot for forensic research We also get an overview of how science has used or misused bodies to advance both legitimate research and outright quackery in the past There s also a long section reflecting on the best way to dispose of human remains since traditional burials and cremations are costly, environmentally harmful and wasteful.While I found this really interesting and enjoyed Roach s writing and approach, there were times when this book completely disgusted me, and I ve got a pretty high tolerance for gore One section about the history of various mad scientists grafting severed heads of dogs and monkeys onto other dogs and monkeys and actually managing to keep them alive for some time was almost too much, and I kind of wished she would have left that chapter out.Still, this was a really interesting book I just wouldn t try to eat a plate of lasagna while reading it. Find all of my reviews at Cadavers are our superheroes They brave fire without flinching, withstand falls from tall buildings and head on car crashes into walls You can fire a gun at them or run a speedboat over their legs, and it will not faze them Their heads can be removed with no deleterious effect They can be in six places at once If you know me, you already know that I have a different sort of relationship with the dead You know, the kind where you dress them up and play offensive hilarious games with them Obviously once I heard about Stiff it had to go right to the top of my TBR In all honesty, I was expecting something just a smidge entertaining than my high school biology book You know, the kind of book only a morbid weirdo like myself could truly enjoy To say I was pleasantly surprised is the understatement of the year.Most of us are already familiar with the potential a cadaver has to continue on after his expiration date Stiff takes it to a whole new level, covering just about every potential career one can have after death Yes, please.As well as tackling everything from burial to composting as a potential disposal method Not to mention dealing with the taboo subjects that relate to the dead As a bonus, all of the above subject matter was written about with such charm and humor that I found myself LOLing for real at times Mary Roach is the type of gal I d like to have a drink with Not only was she able to write about stiffs with a sense of humor, she also shamelessly owned up to her own oddities I ask whether he thinks it s bad that I like the smell, which I don t really, or maybe just a little He replies that it is neither bad nor good, just morbid If reading a smart people book a k a non fiction is something you d like to do of, Stiff The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers is one I d highly recommend. Fascinating, touching and surprisingly wholesome considering it s about dead bodies Many people will find this book disrespectful There is nothing amusing about being dead, they will say Ah, but there is Mary Roach brings cadavers into a whole new, sometimes painfully bright, light We follow her as she attends autopsies and medical discussions We learn what happens to bodies as they decompose on the field, under the field and in so, so many places The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship Most of your time is spent lying on your back We get a bit of a history lesson with the sordid tales associated with body snatching and the early medicine s need for atomically correct models We even go so far back as ancient Egypt and their secret honey recipe you will never look at honey in the same way trust me.This is one book you d have to be dying to miss out on Death It doesn t have to be boring YouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads Happy Reading I m a compulsive buyer of Mary Roach s books Part of the reason is research for my own books, of course, part of it is fascination, thanks to her astute choice of subjects, and part of it is simply enjoyment, derived from her clear prose and tales well told In this case, I read Stiff just after my father passed away, so I was trying to make sense of his loss while trying to come to terms with the brute reality of death It helped a great deal, as I anticipated it would, largely down to Roach s sympathetic and informative tone It was like being taken through a morgue by a thoughtful friend.