Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Notes: Working Stiff, by Judy Melinek, M.D., and T.J. Mitchell

I blogged about this book first here, and now I've finished reading it.

It went really, really quickly. I was fascinated the entire time.

Now, this is a bad book to read while you're eating. I'll just state that up front. And if you were one of those kids who was grossed out in biology class, this probably isn't the book for you either.

But I loved biology class, I'm fascinated by weird medical details, I like stories about weird jobs, and I adored this book.

Melinek gives you a good idea of what her job entails, and she does it through stories. Which is perfect. She gives you general principles, but then shows how they worked out in her day-to-day life through various case studies.

And the chapters are split up into various causes of death. There's a chapter on homicide, on suicide, on death by medical misadventure (so to speak), etc.

But the most harrowing chapter by far comes near the end, where she describes her experience of the events of 9/11. Melinek was one of the ME's who worked on the remains recovered from the site of the Twin Towers. It's sobering, and hard to read.

But I really felt like she gave articulate witness to that hard and sad chapter in our natural history. It was hard to read, but it felt like it was really worth reading.

"Working Stiff" is the story of a doctor becoming a medical examiner. Parts of it were entertaining, parts of it were intriguing, parts of it were horrifying, but it all felt worth reading. I'm glad I picked it up.

Peace of Christ,
Jessica Snell

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Seth said...

I've got a hold request in for this one at my library. Did you hear about it on Science Friday?

Jessica Snell said...

Seth, I don't think so, but the truth is that I don't remember *where* I heard about it, so maybe.

I tell you one thing: it's made it harder to watch certain television procedurals without scoffing at the dialogue! :)

Sherry said...

I'm fascinated, too, by "weird jobs." I call them "worlds"---a book that immerses me in world of horse racing (Seabiscuit) or hotel management (Hotel by Arthur Hailey) or some other world that I don't really know much about is the thing to hook me. I need to add this book to my TBR list.