Stiff: Head and Book

Topics: Head, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Crash test dummy Pages: 2 (696 words) Published: February 9, 2013
Stiff Book Review
Have you ever heard of an exploding whale or seen the process of decay of carcasses? Well, Stiff goes into the goriest details of the progression of decay of cadavers which are dead human bodies. With each word it paints a very vivid picture of the scene Roach experienced at Knoxville, Tennessee. It’s almost so real that you can even smell the distinct and unique smell of decaying cadavers. Now this is only one chapter of the book. Let’s delve in deeper.

Roach nicely divides 12 different topics into twelve different chapters. In order to prevent the monotony of rambling on and on about this book, I will highlight some very interesting points. Right off the bat, the books starts off on a queer note. “The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken.” Now, Roach is able to make is comparison because she is at a university in which surgeons practice surgery on the heads of cadavers. She explains, that it is a very practical and helpful way for surgeons to practice surgery since the head is already inanimate and cannot feel or perceive pain. However it is sometimes very burdening for the surgeons because the heads seem so “real” and “alive.” Another interesting fact that the book expounded upon was the cadavers used as crash test dummies. In the place of plastic dummies or manikins, cadavers have provided much useful knowledge during crashes. Through extensive testing, scientists have been able to discover the maximum impact that parts of the human can withstand before breaking. This has allowed car manufacturers to develop safer cars that will allow us to escape accidents with no major injuries.

The book was very enlightening and interesting. Although it was gruesome and gory in many parts of the book, I enjoyed reading it overall. I especially enjoyed the less formal writing style and diction of the author Mary Roach. It almost seemed like colloquial language and she was having a conversation with me. This made...
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