Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach 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 non-fiction book was one of those that I heard about on NPR that I thought would be an intriguing read. Surprisingly, it was. Mary Roach does an excellent ‘tongue in cheek’ look at the scientific uses and abuses of human bodies throughout history. Everything from practicing surgery on human heads, the study of decomposition, accidental live burials and reanimation are discovered with serious scientific rigor and a bit of humor thrown in.
Some of the details are gross, but not in a sensational way. The science is explained well for the lay person and the humor breaks the tension of the subject just a bit.
If you’re a geek like me and you’re looking to read a non-fiction science book that is entertaining, check this one out. I give it four and a half out of five pizzas.