read this book

in body of work, christine montross, a first-year medical student, describes her experiences in the human anatomy lab and how they shaped her thoughts on life, death and dying.

the wisdom of that moment of pure emotion resonates with me still: that the dearest and most enduring moments of our lives are sometimes the quietest ones.

i wonder if this is what death is like. a nighttime motorcycle ride, a glance at evening’s light on water. a desire to stay to take in the beauty of the world with all its imperfections and a bell that sounds to say that the hour has come beyond which we cannot possibly stay.

although i’ve been through many animal anatomy labs and performed countless necropsies, i cannot fathom the impact that cutting into a human body must have on the psyche of a budding physician. this book is a glimpse into those hours of transforming dissection. powerful, provocative and yet surprisingly poetic.


I saw a review of this book in magazine, sounds good, but I’m not sure if I’m up to reading about the subject matter:)

Posted by bookbabie on 29 June 2008 @ 9am

yes, the subject matter was graphic and somewhat disturbing (though necessary) at times — it’s definitely not a book for the faint of heart!

Posted by heatherdyan on 29 June 2008 @ 10am

I love the passage. Very poetic and emotional.

Posted by webster12 on 29 June 2008 @ 11am

This sounds like an interesting book and one that might translate into words my thoughts on the subject of life and death after my crematorium experience that I wrote about. I would like to read her thoughts, but I don’t know if I could read it though, I can still smell the smell of human death when I think about the crematorium (like right now) and see some of the human anatomy melting away, and don’t know if I want to go through it again via reading this book.

Posted by Colin on 29 June 2008 @ 4pm

i completely understand, colin. i can only imagine what a profound impression that crematorium experience had on your thoughts about life and death. your story was powerful, but i know that experiencing it first hand was something that words can’t capture.

Posted by heatherdyan on 30 June 2008 @ 10am

Wonderful book. Just finished reading it and it was a real emotional journey. I just went through the death of my grandmother and it has left a lasting mark on me. The book was at times disturbing, but also cathardic. It certainly makes you take a journey with author- emotionally, spiritually and physically. Montross convied her emotions through smooth prose. She makes you live the book.

Posted by Jennifer on 9 July 2008 @ 4pm

thanks for sharing, jennifer. i agree!

Posted by heatherdyan on 13 July 2008 @ 4pm

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