Having visited the exposition Body Worlds: Vital twice while it was in town, I found myself enthralled with these renderings of the human form. As manHaving visited the exposition Body Worlds: Vital twice while it was in town, I found myself enthralled with these renderings of the human form. As many people of my generation, I grew up attending classrooms in which Mr. Muscle kept silent vigil on a shelf. I read Zoobooks publications and some textbooks to see what musculature, organs, and the rest of the body looked like, but it seemed a bit fantastical to imagine the miracles beneath my own skin. Even in the echibit, I found myself thinking how they looked more like well-sculpted clay than actual specimens that once lived and breathed.
I first heard about plastination a decade or so ago on the "Ripley's Believe it or Not!" television show and was instantly intrigued by this process, which the book describes and illustrates with photos. I appreciated reading how the work began, especially as it connected to centuries-old practices, making it seem less an aesthetic endeavor than I originally believed it to be. Such arguments are also tackled in essay form within the text, making this more than some ghoulish picture book.
Although I do not have a job in the medical field due to an aversion to blood, this book has been fascinating but also quite useful. I have been able to see normal versus abnormal pictures or explanations of family medical conditions, such as carpal tunnel, a shoulder injury, and my father's heart surgery. My father had no idea what the structures of his heart looked like, and I was able to show him pictures with amazing detail taken from a number of angles so he would have more of an idea of what was happening and where. In the hospital waiting room, I was able to tell some other visitors about the structures of their own loved ones' aortas when I overheard them discussing the subject. They were surprised to hear I am a preschool teaching assistant and not studying nursing.
All in all, this is a wonderful book. I have looked it over with my own children, using a little discretion when needed. I would have liked to see many more pictures, but I don't think even a book with three times as many would appease my curiosity. I also thought it extremely odd to read about the future desire for von Hagens to find a terminally ill person who would allow himself or herself to be filmed expiring and being re-imagined postmortem as some sort of Frankenstein-like superhero with structural modifications for some future display. Still, I find myself looking at and sharing this book regularly and hope to do so for years to come....more
I saw the movie with my daughter and coworker when it came out in theaters. It was absolutely love at first sight, even though I could see definite alI saw the movie with my daughter and coworker when it came out in theaters. It was absolutely love at first sight, even though I could see definite allusions to Romeo and Juliet. Needless to say, I could not wait to get my hands on the book. Surprisingly, I did not have to look beyond the local library. Craving more of what I felt as I watched the film, I had high hopes that the book would be every bit as good. I was not disappointed.
From the first page, I get a clear sense of who R is and what he is about. Just as promised, his inner life is quite rich. His way with words can be quite lovely, even when describing something less than dignified. He speaks with an eloquence many of the Living have abandoned as they become as mechanical and bleak-minded as the Dead. This is a wonderful paradox that truly sets the stage for an attempt to tip the scales on an apocalyptic world-wide scale.
What the movie glosses over are some of the things that make the book so unique. I really enjoy the new little ideas that Marion touches upon, such as the dynamics of dead society and how it effects R. I really think it is inventive to show the unfulfilling "love" lives of the zombies and how they manifest. The conventions and pitfalls of today's relationships are sort of there, just in a different form. I really loved hearing about the zombie with the name tag. Unfortunately, her story seems slightly unfulfilled in the end, even though this probably says more about what needs to happen after the story ends. I also wonder what becomes of the children. R experiences a bond with them,and I wonder how Marion would imagine it playing out. Since this version of the book calls it #1 in a series, I hope these questions are eventually addressed. I sort of wish these had more of a part in the movie so others could have it creep into their thoughts as well.
I also appreciate that the book has its romance but is not afraid to go dark. Sex is something ugly at times in the book, particularly among the Dead or when it is used as a commodity. One page can be touched with fluff only to give way to grisly imagery of feeding or torture. Because it is so organic, it feels real to me instead of jarring. The freedom of language in a world where morals are no longer the forefront seems more authentic to me as well.
All in all, this is the most satisfying read I have completed in quite some time. I highly recommend it to romantics, cynics, and the rest.
This book is something special. Parts of it read like a choose-your-own-adventure entry, although I cannot say I was disappointed not to be given a chThis book is something special. Parts of it read like a choose-your-own-adventure entry, although I cannot say I was disappointed not to be given a choice in which spiral path I was to take. Also reminiscent of that genre is the book's layout, jumping around almost at random between time and place, weaving a shimmering web of the storylines. The only problem is that these can be a bit confusing. Sometimes I found myself struggling to keep up or wondering if certain characters were others in disguise. Had the story been laid out in a more straightforward way, I would have given this book full marks.
I really,really loved the whole circus. I loved seeing how it came about, what made it work, and what happened within. I was sad to see how things turned out, hoping for a happier ending, but it was still satisfying. In a way, I am still enjoying it, thinking about what I read, imagining new tents and plots that could have fit in....more
This is undoubtedly the best book I have read all year, possibly the best in several years. I carried it everywhere in my purse and kept it beside myThis is undoubtedly the best book I have read all year, possibly the best in several years. I carried it everywhere in my purse and kept it beside my bed at night just so I could read whenever I could. Since I recently finished an extremely off-putting read, this was all the more exhilarating of an experience.
This story is a modern gothic tale of a psychiatrist's wife who lives with her husband and son on the grounds of a mental hospital for the criminally insane who embarks on a scandalous, torrid journey that rocks the lives on those around her until they crumble. Interestingly, she does not narrate the tale, a duty resigned to a family friend and fellow psychiatrist who, somewhat unreliably, recounts the entire ordeal as told to him by Stella and Edgar with a great amount of restraint and almost clinical manner, although certain parts still sizzle. This approach is excellent for building suspense and allowing certain events to remain a mystery longer than if another narrator was chosen. The parts that are left to conjecture left me hungry for answers and sparked my imagination, making this method of storytelling far, more effective than methods that prove more blunt. The story is a sad tale for sure, as per the genre, and some parts were sure to culminate in certain events, but I never felt the writing was too heavy for contrived; even when I saw where something was going, I wanted to know how the characters would reach that point. In this way, I feel McGrath took a risk in writing a gothic story, with the authentic 1959 setting coming as an added challenge for a modern author, and he did it right. The psychobabble seems authentic, and the characters so true that I could imagine the story playing in my head like a movie.
I found this story to be so compelling that I was never really away from the story. As stated above, I read the book whenever I could, a paragraph here, a few dozen pages there. When I wasn't reading it, I thought about it. I compared Stella to myself, seeing some of my own psychological and past romantic struggles in her, wondering what I would have done in her heels. At night I dreamt of the world she languished in, casting the characters in my world and my acquaintances in hers, much in the same way transference works in the story. In this way, this story provided me with an adventure that lives beyond the pages, and I hope I can capture some of this excitement in my own work as well as future reading. This is such an excellent read, and I highly recommend it....more