Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

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In what critics have called and I agree with, “fascinating and oddly fun,” Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers explores a world left normally untouched by humor and brings it into a new intriguing light. This work of non-fiction is nothing like I’ve ever read before. I enjoyed reading every page of this book and I learned facts that I hadn’t know prior to. The writer's style is totally cool and funny. If the approach to reading this book would be like reading a boring textbook, that assumption should be thrown out the window because I was giggling all throughout the book.

I can personally relate to the book because it has a sense of humor that I really enjoy that touches on an odd subject matter. Usually seen in a morbid and creepy light, Mary Roach takes death and puts a humorous twist to it. The mentality that she has to choose to laugh instead of crying (or rather puking) I share with her, too. The first chapter of the book is called A Head Is a Terrible Thing to Waste in which she observes plastic surgeons practicing techniques on decapitated heads. One of her first comical lines delivered was, “so he got together with the heads—sorry, chiefs—of surgery at Baltimore’s hospitals and worked out a system” (Roach 27). The last line of the chapter is equally funny if not more so. “As she slides back her chair, she looks down at the benapkined form and says, ‘May she rest in peace.’ I hear it as ‘pieces,’ but that’s just me” (Roach 33). Her aspect of life and death definitely lets you view the world from another angle if only for a short time.

This particular text doesn’t really clash with my view of the world, but as I said already, I just see it from a different perspective. I definitely believe in the phrase, “waste not, want not,” which could apply to using as much of the cadaver as humanly possible. Medical advances should not be held back nowadays because of religious views and beliefs. One could get into the debate over religion, science and...
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