This was my first book in the Non-Fiction Five Challenge.
Have you ever wondered what happens to your body after you die? Me neither. But I still found Stiff quite interesting. The author, Mary Roach, takes the reader on a tour of the many places a human cadaver might end up. She describes decay, embalming, organ retrieval, dissection, and everything else you ever wanted to know, or didn’t want to know, about dead bodies. If this all sounds a bit grotesque, well, it is. But it is also fascinating.
I get most of my daily reading done during my lunch hour. Most of this book was read not only during my lunch break, but during the actual eating of my food. I’m not sure why I did this, it wasn’t a very good idea. Maybe I was subconsciously attempting to prove the toughness of my stomach, the power of my appetite. There were a few times when my lunch suddenly seemed a bit unappetizing, I wouldn’t recommend the combination. If you decide to read this book you might want to keep your meals entirely separate from your reading.
Although it gets a tad disgusting at times, Mary Roach does a good job of keeping things light. She has an interesting sense of humor which is evident throughout. You might not think cadavers and humor go well together, but she does an excellent job of mixing up that cocktail. And she’s certainly able to ask questions I would have been too embarrassed or felt too awkward to ask.
The most significant aspect of the book is its ability to make the reader think about what they want done with their body after passing on. Cremation, burial, organ donation, research; all options. This is an excellent resource for those considering different possibilities. She makes no attempt to persuade the reader to pick one or another.
Admittedly, some will be completely turned off by this books subject, yet I recommend it without reservation.