First Published: 30 November 2015
Genre: Non Fiction
**I received this book from netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. A big thank you Booktrope for the opportunity.**
Your Questions about Death Answered.
Very enjoyable Q&A with a coroner detailing just about everything you want to know about the death business.
“One thing that you can be sure in life, is that it is going to end. How’s that for a buzzkill? A real life coroner challenged a few thousand internet strangers to ask her anything. The result is a collection of morbid and slightly embarrassing questions all about The End. Spoiler Alert: You’re Gonna Die! will leave you with a new perspective on life.“
The Q&A format is perfect for this book. It keeps the text light and allows the readers to know what exactly we are delving into.
Morbid Curiosity, Answered
Purcell answers your most important questions:
Do you judge hair people? Like a woman with unshaved legs?
What’s the strangest item you’ve found in a body?
I found a remote control and a Snickers bar, still in the wrapper, in the fat rolls of a really, really, obese person. It was sort of uncomfortable having to give the remove back to the family. “Um… We found this…”
And answers ones you may not have known you ever had, such as why hospitals cannot remove medical equipment/devices from corpses.
The Underlying Message
“Death is something we all know is coming, yet isn’t typically embraced”
“This stuff needs to be normalized.”
Purcell believes strongly that we need to pay attention to death before it happens. She discusses the options that are available for our bodies, with some proper planning. I never knew how many options were out there and it really opens your eyes not only to your own opportunities, but to the idea that your loved ones really don’t know how you feel or what you want if you don’t tell them.
There is a lot of information in this book, but I was hoping for more intimacy with the actual autopsy process. Purcell briefly describes the process, but continues onto other, non-autopsy related questions.
Um.. Tell Me More?
At the end, the text states that you have to wear underwear upon death, unless specifically stated otherwise to your funeral director. I never knew this until it brings it up and, after bringing it up, it was never explained. Why?
This is so minor of a complaint, I apologize for its pettiness. The author or coroner (not really sure which) says the following in reference to The Body Farm:
Though the idea of human bodies being stripped naked and dumped out in nature, left to the animals and elements to desecrate, while researchers study the effects may seem horrific (or incredibly awesome depending on what level of mess up you are), there are tangible benefits to this important research taking place.
For being a book on death and the normalization of such, it was uncomfortable for me to think that one of these two contributors to this book consider people as “messed up” if they find interest in The Body Farm. It seems a bit contradictory.
I hate, hate, hate to watch shows about death investigations on TV.” … “They have unreal expectations and come up with so many “what-ifs” that it makes things ridiculous! It seems like people look at a case and ask, “Do we have DNA?” No. “Well, then, I don’t know what else we can possibly do here. Let’s add this to the 200,000+ unsolved deaths and we’ll come back to it someday if technology advances.” The realist is, the offender for the majority of all unsolved case is listed in the case notes and is usually someone who’d been mentioned or interviewed within the first five days of the investigation.
If nothing else, I hope you read this book and developed a better understanding of how the death industry works and some of the options available to you. I also hope it encourages conversations within your family about your own wishes for after you die, because when your time comes, your family will want nothing more to honor you by granting your final wishes. Don’t make it a guessing game