I rarely read non-fiction, but the cover of this book grabbed me. Boy, am I glad I picked it up! Filled with tons of facts about the uses of cadavers, many of which I'd never considered (crash-test dummies, police training, fertilizer), the book's footnotes are not to be missed.
Terrifically funny without being irreverent, Mary Roach has written an informative book that got me thinking about what I want done with my body after death.
Not to mention the best line, ever, in a book: "Well, do me chicken."
THIS ISN'T FOR EVERYONE
After long admiring Ms. Roach's contributions to Reader's Digest, I read this book. Although the subject matter is unusual and might well be distasteful to many, she handles it with dignity and, if you can believe, much good humor. If you've ever been curious about all things dead, this is the book for you. Consider it the ultimate recycling idea. Chances are you'll never attend another wake without thinking about the stories in this book.
I bought this book (PB & HC) for a fellow member who had wish-listed it, and the poster backed out on her (said she wanted to keep it, after posting it). In the interim the member acquired another copy - so here I was with 2 bindings of a book I would probably NOT have requested for myself! What to do? I did the only logical thing - I read it myself!This book is without a doubt one of the most obscure and innovative non-fiction subjects you could ever imagine being turned into a book. Mary Roach respectfully shows us all a lighter side of death. She goes above-and-beyond the normal fare of post-life activities that you might expect, and gives you new insights into things like organ donation, processing and eating of mummies in ancient China! Along the way, she pulls over and gives you glimpses of dead-derived medicines, embalming, decomposition, and the use of test crash cadavers. This is a book about the factual side of an emotional subject and I think it is superbly done! How she can work humor into an otherwise humorless area is beyond me! She elegantly attains a very difficult and fine-lined balance between respect, history, and humor in a book about a very thorny issue. Be very cautious when friends ask you "read any good books lately" - your answer may get you some strange looks in return! Mary Roach has written something that will make you scratch your head, smile, frown, wrinkle your nose, read with your mouth open, and reach a level of understanding of what happens after death that you wouldn't have achieved on your own! You'll want to share this book with your friends - well, you're my friends (so to speak), so I'm sharing it with YOU! READ IT - you'll thank me for it!
When the living stop living, what happens to what's left over? From funerary procedures, to medical teaching aid, to odd science experiments done in the name of education, to preventing future deaths, to being eaten... this pop-sci journey is a quick read, easy to understand, and takes away the mysteries and ignorances of what's done with cadavers.
Fantastic look at a topic not "fit for polite conversation"...what happens to our bodies after death. The author's humorous (but not disrespectful) tone makes the material, although off-putting, engaging. I thought it was fascinating and funny!