Cadavers are our superheroes. They brave fire without flinching, withstand falls from tall buildings and head-on car crashes into walls. You can fire a gun at them or run a speedboat over their legs, and it will not faze them. Their heads can be removed with no deleterious effect. They can be in six places at once. I take the Superhuman point of view. What a shame to waste these powers, to not use them for the betterment of humankind.
– May Roach (Author of Stiff)
Stiff is the title of a best-selling book written by Mary Roach. Released in 2003, the book is all about human cadavers — which is a polite way of saying “dead bodies.”
Sounds like a real treat, doesn’t it?
Indeed, aversion is to be expected. Why spend leisure time reading a decade-old book about dead bodies? Well, let’s reverse that question. Think of it this way — why wouldn’t you want to read a book about precisely what happens to your body — in great detail — once your life ends?
Too unbearable to ponder? Think again.
For the squeamish expecting a narrative that’s scientific or morbid, Stiff is surprisingly neither. Rather, it’s intriguing, original, and often very funny. Yes, I said it – funny.
Due to the persistent sensitivity and clever wit of the author Mary Roach, she takes one of the most disturbing subjects imaginable and not only makes this into a page-turner for all types of reading audiences (high school dropouts and doctors would likely find it equally interesting), but transforms the macabre into a remarkable revelation of the things which essentially make us human. In short, this isn’t a book about dying, at all. It’s about living and more precisely understanding the miraculous chamber called the human body which houses our existence for an average life span of about 75 years.Read More