Laurel's Reviews > Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff by Mary Roach
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's review
Jan 15, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: death-and-social-work
Read in November, 2008

This book is amusing, though after the first few chapters a little boring. I was sufficiently grossed out by the chapter regarding human decomposition, and the bit about the embalming process and how funeral homes prepare the body was particularly interesting to me when I found myself sitting at a wake the evening after reading it. I couldn't stop thinking about how the dearly departed's eyelids were held down by a little disk that pinned into his eyeball so the lids wouldn't pop open.

I'm not all that interested in crash-test dummies for some reason, so I skipped over that part. The airplane crash bit scared the shit out of me.

Mary Roach's voice is strong and clearly passionate about the subject, without being weirdly passionate/creepy. She's often unsure of how much she really wants to know about this stuff too. I can definitely see being annoyed by all of the jokey comments she makes, but it didn't really bother me all that much. I read it as sort of a self-conscious attempt at making sure the readers know she's not a creep.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Michelle One thing I love about getting older and losing my memory is that I've forgotten most of the trauma of reading the airplane chapter a week before taking a flight.

message 2: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Now I'm semi-interested in reading this, but I may put if off until after my Thanksgiving flight...

Books Ring Mah Bell I still have to read this one of these days...

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