UHS Honors English 9 P2 2017 discussion

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
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Stiff - Independent Reading Review

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message 1: by Joseph (new) - added it

Joseph | 8 comments Stiff, a non-fiction book, written by Mary Roach, tells the story of the curious life of human cadavers. The summary on the back of the book includes, “Mary visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.” This couldn’t have been said any better because there are tons of science discoveries and weird happenings with cadavers. She talks about practicing surgery on the head, body snatching, human decay and what can be done about it, human crash test dummies, when the bodies of the passengers must tell the story of the crash, the ethics of bullets and bombs, crucifixion experiments, beating heart cadavers, live burial, the scientific search for the soul, reanimation, human head transplant, medicinal cannibalism, and cremation. She touches all of the possible subjects. Many people are introduced through the book, too many to name, that she meets as she travels the world talking to professionals about what they do. She made this book because she believed it’s a touchy subject that not a lot of people would bother finding out about but one that should be written.
Since the book is informational one of my favorite pieces of info that really changed my perspective on dead people is that its possible for the brain to stop functioning but the rest of the organ still be working. These “beating-heart cadavers” may have had some brain problem, which made them unable to breathe so they are dead, but their heart is still beating and if hooked up to a respirator then the organs could thrive, for a matter of days. I had always thought that as soon as the brain died that the entire body immediately shut down and gave up on their functions, but with modern technology as long as it’s not broken, why fix it. Most of these “beating-heart cadavers” are used for surgery to find how an operating body functions when affected by certain things. They also make great donors because their organs are still in shape and functioning.
Really liked this book because Roach wrote like she was talking to you. It felt like she was just telling you some information she found out in a very humorous way. It was surprisingly funny because Roach included her perspective through every situation and included many footnotes, which outlined her thought. Through the decomposition of bodies she joked about what she saw and her imagination of what other people were thinking and managed to make me chuckle. She kept a consistent timeline and everything was chronological so it was easy to follow. Sometimes she asked questions that normal people wouldn’t ask, and she made the reader aware that these were unusual questions and even told us her thoughts as she asked them.


message 2: by Griffin (new)

Griffin Destroyer | 8 comments This book sounds very intriguing and very interesting. The light-hearted mood you said was in this book was the thing that stuck me the hardest. This is due to the death related subject but it definitely would help to keep it fresh and not so gloomy. The perspective of the author speaking directly to the reader is also very interesting because of its informative nature. I never would have expected there to be life in a body after the brain goes dark because I too thought that the brain would shut everything down after it stopped working. Due to its new angle on life after death I will definitely consider reading this story.


message 3: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Todd (Alwayswatching) | 8 comments This sounds like an odd, but interesting book. I liked how you included the different the different topics discussed, it was a good way of summarizing it without spoiling the book. I can also appreciate how it seems to be an educational book, but in the form of a conversation. I liked what you included about the Beating Heart Cadavers, because that little bit of fascinating information made me want to read it more. All in all, after reading this review, I want to read the book.


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