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Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner
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April 2018: Strong Women > Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek, T.J. Mitchell ~ 4 stars

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Joni | 625 comments Goodreads:
The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist's rookie season as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases, hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex, that shaped her as both a physician and a mother.

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation, performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587.

Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies, and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like CSI and Law and Order to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

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As I was listening to this book, I really debated as to where or not I would consider this a "strong woman" book. I went back and forth with it. It just seemed like a typical book about the life of a medical examiner....male or female.

Until 9/11 happened. Judy stated that she was permanently changed by what she witnessed and seen on that day and on the days and months that followed. I would say it would probably have changed me also. I think in some way 9/11 changed a lot of us. She said that the ID'ing so many bodies was really hard. But as a young mother, she said that worst part was receiving the young children. At times it was more than she could handle. For me it was the stories of the firemen that she received. I come from a family of firemen...it was heart breaking to hear the stories of what she seen. I would say this book definitely was about a strong woman.


Ellen | 2330 comments I wanted to get to this one during the "Science" tag but ran out of month. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and I will get to it eventually.


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