Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

I just finished reading Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. What an interesting book! Like the author, I'm fascinated by our bodies and our souls. It was engrossing to read the variety of positive uses that can be made of a dead body. It was also sometimes gross, but the author has a great sense of humor which lightens the mood.

I've previously read Spook, which is a book by the same author examining what happens to our soul when we die, from a scientific perspective. While I enjoyed that book as well, I must say that I enjoyed Stiff even more. I think the reason is that Spook never provided an "oh really?!" moment, nor did it feel conclusive. Stiff provides solid, conclusive information and there were times I was struck with wonder at what happens to our bodies after death.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in our bodies. It is not a morbid book. It is written by someone who is not interested in death, but is interested in science. For that reason it is very accessible.

So has this book influenced what I wish done with my body when I die? Possibly :-) The author makes a very good point in the last chapter that the last wishes of the deceased can often be very difficult for the survivors to carry out. I have checked the organ donor option on my driver's license, but beyond that I honestly don't know that I care what happens to my remains. I just want whoever survives me to be able to carry on with a sense of closure. Whether that means burial, cremation, or donation to science, I think I can go along. I guess I won't have much choice :-)


Jade Mason