Stiff by Mary Roach

Read: 24 August, 2015

I’ve had this author (and this book, in particular) on my radar for a long time, but never gotten around to reading it. This time, though, I was visiting with a friend who happened to own it, so I seized the opportunity.

And I’m glad I did! This book is hilarious, with a fantastic dark humour (fairly necessary, given the grossness of the subject matter). The subject matter, by the way, is corpses. Specifically, the many uses for them. This mostly includes research (medical, safety, military), but there are some other applications.

I found Roach to be very thorough in her investigations. Whenever I started to form a question, sure enough, she was answering it. I particularly enjoyed her bit of investigative journalism in the chapter about using the dead for food.

I did have a few unsettling moments, mostly through serendipity. For example, I was in the middle of reading about the rumour that a restaurant in China owned by the brother of a man who worked in a funeral parlour, had been serving dumplings made with human meat, when I was asked if I wanted to go out for Chinese food (we did).

All in all, a very enjoyable read. An interesting subject told interestingly.

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