Title: All that remains
Author: Sue Black
Genre: nonfiction, biography, medical
Expected publication: March 5th 2019
Trigger Warning: death, blood, corpses, medical examinations, violence
Goodreads rating: 4,43
My rating: 4,75/5
Dame Sue Black is an internationally renowned forensic anthropologist and human anatomist. She has lived her life eye to eye with the Grim Reaper, and she writes vividly about it in this book, which is part primer on the basics of identifying human remains, part frank memoir of a woman whose first paying job as a schoolgirl was to apprentice in a butcher shop, and part no-nonsense but deeply humane introduction to the reality of death in our lives. It is a treat for CSI junkies, murder mystery and thriller readers, and anyone seeking a clear-eyed guide to a subject that touches us all.
Cutting through hype, romanticism, and clichè, she recounts her first dissection; her own first acquaintance with a loved one’s death; the mortal remains in her lab and at burial sites as well as scenes of violence, murder, and criminal dismemberment; and about investigating mass fatalities due to war, accident, or natural disaster, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She uses key cases to reveal how forensic science has developed and what her work has taught her about human nature.
After the mini-reviews of 2 nonfiction books about an asylum and murderers, here it is a review of a biography/nonfiction book about death. Well done Diana! I have to say, this book is really fantastic!
I found it on Edelweiss and it was free to download for everyone. If you are interested in the subject (not only death, but anatomy too), you really need to read this book.
“What makes us human? One of my favourite definitions is: Humans belong to the group of conscious beings that are carbon-based, solar system dependent, limited in knowledge, prone to error and mortal.”
Dame Sue Black writes about medical and anatomical things but it’s not difficult to comprehend, and she melts accurately with some dark humour and even memories from her past and her family, so it’s not a book totally focused on death.
In fact, the part that I enjoyed the most is the chapter who explains how the human body is formed when we are a fetus. And alongside with that, I totally enjoyed these medical facts and “rules” (like the rules of 3 for surviving) and I even memorized them!
But please pay attention: it’s not a book suitable for children or sensible readers.
I truly learned a lot about humans, anatomy, death and grief thanks to this book, and thanks to the author too. My mum hopes they translate it in Italian so she can read it too!
So why it wasn’t a full 5 stars rating? Because one chapter is really gross and difficult, and, in my humble opinion, not to be included in a book for masses (It’s a spoiler, if you want to read it, highlight the following phrases): a chapter is dedicated to the best instruments, techniques and locations for dissecting corpses if you want to get rid off of them. I totally understand that this is a book about death and murders too, but I really don’t want to know where is better to cut a leg with a chainsaw, or if the shower is better than the floor to wash away the blood. Seems like a manual for serial killers, and definitely not good to put in a book.
*all the quotes are from the ARC copies. I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review.
This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info