Review: Working Stiff

workingstiffWorking Stiff by Judy Melinek, M.D., and T.J. Mitchell
Catalog record  |  Goodreads reviews

The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist’s rookie season as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases, hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex, that shaped her as both a physician and a mother.

If you want to learn about all the myriad ways death happens, apparently New York City is the place to do it. Dr. Melinek pulls from her two years of experience conducting autopsies in NYC and illustrates, through very objective but understandable (and sometimes gruesome) means, how people die and how she identifies such through their remains. None of the bodies are shown as just a body, but instead become characters in their own right. It was somewhat surreal to find myself, on the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, reading the chapter about that event and how Melinek dealt with and worked through such an immense and traumatic ordeal.

While not perfectly written (some bits can be repetitive), this is a fascinating account that thoroughly explains (and explains well) the function of a medical examiner. This book also brought home to me how truly easy it is to die and, more significantly, how important it is to live.


– Review by Marleah


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