I'd never heard about this book before until it came up within a non-book related discussion topic in a group here on GoodReads. Strange how some books just pop out at you. Reading about cadavers - dead bodies, interested my morbid fascination with the dead and death.
She writes sensitively, but humorously about what happens to you when you die. If you are considering donating organs or your whole body to science - like I was before even picking this book up, curious, or a family member wants to do this and you want to know more - this is a good book to read.
It tells you the history of the dead body - how once upon a time people were afraid of being buried alive, the history of how cadavers were once acquired. The usefulness of cadavers and how they have been used. Not just for medicine, but also in testing and improving the saftey of cars, and also by the armed forces testing for other things too.
Roach attempts to reduce the stigma that is sometimes built up over the uses of cadavers. It got me thinking, how we seem to be more worried over how we treat the dead then we do the living. We would rather test on a live animal then an already dead, and much more reliable human body part. I think she does this well, without coming across as overly preachy. But maybe that is because I already agree with her.
Death is not the end. It has always seemed to me a waste to just die and then get loaded into a furnace to be cremated. I do not want to be cremated. I want to donate my organs to those who need them.
I quote this paragraph, because I think it really sums up how I feel - about donating organs and people who oppose it.
"It is astounding to me, and achingly sad, that with eighty thousand people on the waiting list for donated hearts and livers and kidneys, with sixteen a day dying there on that list, that more then half of the people in the position H's family was in will say no, will choose to burn those organs or let them rot. We abide the surgeon's scalpel to save our own lives, out loved ones' lives, but not to save a stranger's life. H has no heart, but heartless is the last thing you'd call her." (p. 195)
Also, if I do not end up donating the rest of my body to science, then I want to become human compost. I'd never heard of that before this book, but it appeals to me - better then just simply being buried - better to think that a tree or a plant will use my body to fertilise it's flowers and I can become one with nature - go back to the earth instead of being burnt up into useless ashes.