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Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
a"The New York Times Book Review"
aAn exceptionally thoughtful memoir . . . [a] beautiful book.a
a"The Washington Post"
aUnflinching . . . insightful . . . sparklingly lucid.a
Eloquent and persuasive. . . . The author dissects her own emotions as deftly as she does . . . the cadaver, her pen as revelatory as her scalpel.
"The New York Times Book Review"
An exceptionally thoughtful memoir . . . [a] beautiful book.
"The Washington Post"
Unflinching . . . insightful . . . sparklingly lucid.
? Eloquent and persuasive. . . . The author dissects her own emotions as deftly as she does . . . the cadaver, her pen as revelatory as her scalpel.?
?"The New York Times Book Review"
?An exceptionally thoughtful memoir . . . [a] beautiful book.?
?"The Washington Post"
?Unflinching . . . insightful . . . sparklingly lucid.?
Top Customer Reviews
In other words, Montross writes with knowledge and determination, passion and persuasion, connection and compassion.
During her first year in medical school, her most important dissection partner was a deceased woman she named Eve. Whatever Eve did in life, in death she shaped Montross forever. Montross marveled at Eve's lack of a belly button, the bone dust Montross inhaled, the wonder of Eve's gift of herself. Eve morphed into a totally dissected person, and to the end, Montross would always consider her a person, not a thing, and not an abstraction.
This experience, along with vignettes from her rotations in medical school, are shared throughout the book. But Montross goes beyond that, delving into the history of anatomy, of human dissection, and of our linkage of what remains after we die with our spiritual connections. There's a reason saints were delivered in many pieces to places of worship, that medical students resorted to grave robbery, and that Thai medical students respect their dissection experiences throughout their career.
Montross weaves her anatomy experiences with her own life and relationship. There is a sensitivity here that makes you want to choose her as your own physician. By golly, if I am brain dead, I want Dr. Montross to check my pain reflexes! Finally, there are a number of books about that first year experience in medical school, and they all share the spirit of discovery in anatomy. This one goes where others have not, and reflects Montross's background as a teacher of English and a poet... observations of anatomy through the MFA lens.
This is a great book to give that person who yearns to follow her into the healing professions.
Jim Wicoff m.d.
Older than most of her classmates, she has a stable, happy relationship and a wider, more mature perspective than, say, gung-ho Raj, fresh from college, who can't wait to start cutting. Montross herself is much more ambivalent and approaches her team's corpse with curiosity about its life.
With their first view of her, their cadaver furnishes her own name - Eve. The old woman has no belly button! Montross takes us through her team of four's first cuts - the trepidation, ambivalence, feelings of inadequacy and amazement. She also tells us how it feels to put scalpel to embalmed flesh, to saw through bones and softer tissue.
"The muscle and cartilage are much easier to saw, but, as a result, doing so lacks the distraction that effort affords. The tissue spins off the blade in small bits, which look like tiny roots or fingernail clippings."
Graphic descriptions of the layers of flesh and muscle, the intricate and ingenious, but messy and confusing circulation system, the distinct and functional organs, fascinate and repel. Montross describes the process of normal decay after death - but the medical cadavers could remain at room temperature for 20 years without further decay.
Taking periodic breaks, she explores the history of medical cadavers: body snatchers and religious taboos, the early scientists who donated their own bodies, and the condemned prisoners donated by the state.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
BODY OF WORK is, I suppose, pretty much what its subtitle, MEDITATIONS ON MORTALITY FROM THE HUMAN ANATOMY LAB, promises it will be. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Timothy J. Bazzett
Good book on topic with sometimes choppy writing. Probably the best such tome that includes lots of historical tidbits, etc.Published 3 months ago by J Bright
Sappy and naive. How did she even get to med school without taking anatomy first?! And she wants to be a doctor but is scared of a cadaver?? Ridiculous.Published 4 months ago by student
Great book- I've purchased this for several friends as they went to start Med School.Published 11 months ago by pelegoddess
Boy, this book took me back to anatomy class experiences in physical therapy school. Would like to do it all over again! Read morePublished 11 months ago by Donald E. Honey
This novel is truly a must read. Montross paints a clear picture of the struggles that new medical students will face within their first weeks of medical school, and through their... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Samantha Orr
This was a very profound experience for someone who has never even thought about human dissection before. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Norman H. Rosen
Wonderful book! Well-written, well-researched. I read it as a precursor to beginning an anatomy class for Physical Therapy and it was a great segue into the course.Published 14 months ago by Soly Long