Book Review #100 – Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach

Hello guys!

Can you even believe this is my 100th (“traditional” book) review?! Where did time go? Thank you so much for sticking by! The blog has been through some ups and downs but it’s been an awesome experience so far!

Anyway, on with the review! It is time for a very special book. This is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach.

Purchase this book from Book Depository



An oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem.

For 2,000 years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They’ve tested France’s first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure—from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery—cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.

In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries—from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors’ conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.



  • super interesting and educational
  • appropriately light and funny
  • also grim and serious



  • gory details may upset the most sensitive minds
  • now I’m indecisive about what I want to be done with my body after I die



After I loved and raved about Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, people didn’t stop recommending me Stiff. And although I fear death a lot, I have no problems reading about it. I have to say, I absolutely LOVED this book! It was by far the most interesting read of my year, at least so far. I had no idea that when you donated your corpse to science, you could have so much be done with it. There’s medical education, ballistic studies, historical research, crash dummies experiences, you name it! Honestly, some corpses had more interesting lives than I had in my 20 years of breathing. I was ignorant to this and I feel like now I’m full of facts and other details to throw during a party and become either the coolest or the creepiest person there. With all the options I now know of, I have no idea what I want to do with my body after I die. But maybe I don’t want it to be cremated, like I used to. Maybe I want it to have an interesting and educational last ride. And I need yet more books on this topic to get into because I’m absolutely loving them.

Have any of you read this? Or anyone curious to read it now? Let me know!

See you guys soon,



2 thoughts on “Book Review #100 – Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach

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