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Some Stiff Science For You

*Special Guest Post written by Teen Volunteer, Ava E.*

I read this book during the summer and was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining and simply fascinating it was.  I had never before read a piece of writing so grim, yet tastefully written and educational.  The role of the deceased in modern society is investigated with witty and humorous narration that lightens the mood.  

Roach introduces readers to concepts like body donation and autopsies that are rarely talked about.  She answers some questions surrounding death and what happens to our bodies that we may have been too afraid to ask.  I appreciated how this book touches on the fascinating history of cadaver science and how it has transformed medicine as a whole.  The author stresses and illustrates the importance of cadaver science with, "we're not talking about research that will help mankind save lives; we're talking about research that will help man take lives" (pg. 142).  It’s not necessary to have a medical background before reading it and everyone can learn something from it, regardless of how grotesque it may be at times.  

On a different note, Roach discusses important themes.  Her overarching message is that modern innovation has relied on research on cadavers from every period and across the world.  With the intention of improving society, cadavers are often viewed with discomfort or squeamishness, but the dead can also be seen as behind-the-scenes ‘superheroes’ enduring brutality without flinching.  In the end, anyone who wants to think philosophically about the complexity of death and our bodies’ values after death should read this.

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