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Stiff Audiobook
Stiff
Written by: 
Mary Roach
Narrated by: 
Shelly Frasier
Stiff Audiobook

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

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Audible Editor Reviews

Mary Roach unzips the body bag and tells us far more than we thought we wanted to know about what happens to our bodies after we pass away. And yet somehow, she makes you want to know even more. It's like watching something repulsive but fascinating through cracks in the fingers you placed over your eyes so you wouldn't see. The author takes a deliberately humorous, academic tone as she describes these fascinating atrocities, and Shelly Frasier mirrors the author's tone perfectly. That very dry humor pervades the entire book; never cynical or condescending, never adolescent or tasteless, and it makes what could be a ghastly, repellent subject surprisingly upbeat and entertaining. Despite all that, we can't recommend that you listen to this audio book with a bunch of 11- or 12-year-old girls in the car with you, unless you enjoy hearing "Eeeew - gross!" squealed in a high-pitched voice over and over again. To some, that would be a fate worse than...well, death.

Publisher's Summary

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. 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.

©2003 Mary Roach; (P)2003 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Alex Award Winner, 2004

"Uproariously funny....informative and respectful...irreverent and witty....impossible to put down." (Publishers Weekly)
"Not grisly but inspiring, this work considers the many valuable scientific uses of the body after death." (Library Journal)
"One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year." (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4866 )
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4.3 (3217 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Lidwine Saulnierville, NS, Canada 12-19-11
    Lidwine Saulnierville, NS, Canada 12-19-11 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "Extremely informative and a delight to listen too!"
    What did you love best about Stiff?

    The story line as well as the narrator researched the subject matter, and this was a delightful story to listen too. The narrator has a nack for putting the emphasis on areas that were meant to be lighthearted. Overall I would give this an A+ and would love to read as well as listen to other novels by this author. Loved it!!!

    This is a subject matter that many individuals don't want to talk about or deal with, however, the way the subject matter was introduced makes one want to learn more about what happens to the human body once one is deceased.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    N/A


    Which character – as performed by Shelly Frasier – was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The personalization of how the novel was written.


    Any additional comments?

    Great author, I look forward to reading as well as listening to other novel that she has written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald MIAMI, FLORIDA, United States 12-19-11
    Ronald MIAMI, FLORIDA, United States 12-19-11 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    278
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for the faint of heart or intestinal fortitude"
    What did you love best about Stiff?

    it gave me at least a new perspective on death and what we leave behind. It makes a compelling case for the need of more research cadavers.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    No holds barred approach to what happens to your body after you leave it.


    What does Shelly Frasier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Comedy.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Gag and loose my appetite. That is extreme for me.


    Any additional comments?

    Informative but strong to take worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 12-19-11
    Ann 12-19-11

    Ann

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really interesting and at times...funny."

    Well worth a read. Very interesting history of cadavers. Sometimes morbidly funny too. Certainly convinces one to choose cremation when the time comes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Dressler Greenview, Ca United States 12-19-11
    Kim Dressler Greenview, Ca United States 12-19-11 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    296
    1
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    Story
    "Hilarious"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is the best book I have read in a long time. I just finished it and it was so funny and interesting that I have no problem re-listening to it again with my husband when we go on a road trip next week. It's that good. Absolutely fascinating with a wonderful sense of humor.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The narrator was fantastic and the detailed research of the author was quite impressive.


    What about Shelly Frasier???s performance did you like?

    I loved her delivery.


    What???s the most interesting tidbit you???ve picked up from this book?

    I am an avid composter in my garden and now have a pretty good idea what's in store for me in the future.


    Any additional comments?

    Please write more books!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsey 12-16-11
    Lindsey 12-16-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Book got better as it progressed"

    If the whole book had been like the last several chapters, I would have liked it more. I found Roach's narratives of her interviews and personal involvement in her research much more interesting than the lists of facts that take up the earlier chapters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Gainesville, FL, United States 12-13-11
    Karen Gainesville, FL, United States 12-13-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "quite a good book"

    Well written, very interesting, a lot more goes on that I'd ever imagined. Some history included. Well read/performed. Highly recommend this for anyone with the slightest interest in what happens after death.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula 12-12-11
    Ursula 12-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
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    43
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    17
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    Story
    "Definitely a horse of a different colour :-)"

    This was a really well-written & well-researched book. Lots of tongue & cheek humour. Well-presented & enjoyable listen. Somewhat disturbing information, presented in an inoffensive manner. Humans are certainly an interesting set of animals. So will you be leaving your body to science?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    guizap 12-12-11
    guizap 12-12-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "my interest in Audible is fast declining"

    Is Putrefaction pronounced putrefication?
    Is Liquefaction pronounced liquification?
    Is Anesthetized pronounced anesthesize?
    Is Calvary pronounced cavalry?
    Is Apothecary pronounced apocathary?
    I'm pretty sure Reuters isn't pronounced rooters.
    Is Assimilated pronounced assimulated?

    It seems if you are going to hire dyslexics as professional readers, you might consider establishing some kind of review process, no?

    And footnotes? These are to be entirely ignored? There are extensive footnotes every few pages, which have been entirely omitted in the Audible version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Salt Lake City, Utah, United States 12-07-11
    Eric Salt Lake City, Utah, United States 12-07-11 Member Since 2012

    A man. A plan. A canal. Panama

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thought provoking"

    Roach expertly describes the variety of ways we treat the deceased. Enlightening, interesting, but don't listen while you're eating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nona GARRETT, IN, United States 11-29-11
    Nona GARRETT, IN, United States 11-29-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Story
    "Excellent"

    This was funny, but yet informative. One of the best audio's I have listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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