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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Body of Work by Christine Montross. A hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cuts her open Christine Montross was a nervous first-year medical student, standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class, preparing herself for what was to come.
Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags is shockin A hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cuts her open Christine Montross was a nervous first-year medical student, standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class, preparing herself for what was to come.
Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags is shocking no matter how long you've prepared yourself, but a strange thing happened when Montross met her cadaver. Instead of being disgusted by her, she was utterly intrigued-intrigued by the person the woman once was, humbled by the sacrifice she had made in donating her body to science, fascinated by the strange, unsettling beauty of the human form.
They called her Eve. This is the story of Montross and Eve-the student and the subject-and the surprising relationship that grew between them. Body of Work is a mesmerizing, rarely seen glimpse into the day-to-day life of a medical student-yet one that follows naturally in the footsteps of recent highly successful literary renderings of the mysteries of medicine such as Atul Gawande's Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science.
Christine Montross was a poet long before she became a doctor and brings an uncommon perspective to the emotional difficulty of the first year of medical school-the dispiriting task of remaining clinical and detached while in the anatomy lab and the struggle with the line you've crossed by violating another's body once you leave it. Montross was so affected by her experience with Eve that she undertook to learn more about the history of cadavers and the study of anatomy.
She visited an autopsy lab in Ireland and the University of Padua in Italy where Vesalius, a forefather of anatomy, once studied; she learned about body snatchers and grave-robbers and anatomists who practiced their work on live criminals. Her disturbing, often entertaining anecdotes enrich this exquisitely crafted memoir, endowing an eerie beauty to the world of a doctor-in-training.
Body of Work is an unforgettable examination of the mysteries of the human body and a remarkable look at our relationship with both the living and the dead.
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To ask other readers questions about Body of Work , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 12, Rebecca rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , memoirs , illness-and-death , medical. When she was training to become a doctor in Rhode Island, Montross and her anatomy lab classmates were assigned an older female cadaver they named Eve.
Eve taught her everything she knows about the human body. Montross is also a published poet, as evident in her lyrical exploration of the attraction and strangeness of working with the remnants of someone who was once alive. The wall of the atrium is the thickness of an old T-shirt, and yet a tear in it means instant death. I get through a whole lot of medical reads, as any of my regular readers will know, but this one is an absolute stand-out for its lyrical language, clarity of vision, honesty and compassion.
View 2 comments. Sep 03, Mikey B. A fascinating account of this "acceptable taboo" subject - namely, the medical dissection of the human body by medical students. This one is up close and personal, because the author is one of the students.
She takes us through the entire semester - or more precisely the spiritual journey she undergoes. We follow Ms. Montross through her development - both human and medical. We can feel her growth, she makes incredible connections between her lab work and internship with live patients. She realizes that the extreme awkwardness and cutting to exposure ALL parts of the human body is also a preparation for dealing with real people who may be terminally ill, have grotesque disfigurations, etc Like all medical students she must learn to balance feelings and discomfort when listening to patients - but not at the loss of giving just a cold clinical diagnosis.
We also get a sense of the mental and physical stress that these students undergo - not all of them make it through the entire term. They are in their own special club - and those outside the club cannot properly relate to them. Montross gives us wonderful insights into this club. Another aspect of the book I liked was its lack of criticisms. This is not a book that rails against the medical profession and those in it.
It treats all from the body undergoing dissection to the students, doctors and patients with a great deal of humanism and respect. She also gives a history of anatomical dissection and how bodies were acquired more often stolen in past eras.
Given the subject this is not easy reading - it is necessarily morbid. I did not have nightmares, but the words in the book remain with you - as does any good book. View all 4 comments. Jan 30, Tauna rated it really liked it Shelves: 4-and-a-half-stars , non-fiction , medical. This is a memoir that takes place during a first year medical student's experiences in her anatomy class dissecting a cadaver. The writing is fluid and easily transitions between the writer's time in the lab and hospital and medical history involving the evolution of dissection.
I was amazed and entranced by this book, and found myself palpating my neck I read this book as one of four required readings for my Medical Reading section of HOSA competition this year, and I am so grateful that I did. I was amazed and entranced by this book, and found myself palpating my neck for my sternocleidomastoid as the author describes locating it on herself while finding it in her cadaver. This book is very well described in its subtitle: a meditation on mortality from the human anatomy lab.
I found it to be profound, enlightening, and moving and would encourage anyone who's ever been curious about human dissection to read it. Although there is a lot of medical jargon, and those without basic knowledge of latin medical word roots might get lost. View 1 comment. Instantly became a favorite. A great memoir about a very sensitive subject, and from a sensitive person. As a doctor and a cardiac surgeon this book touched me deeply. I felt like i have written it myself with all these feelings and thoughts.
In the anatomy lab we dissect cadavers as we should do, but more importantly we dissect our lives, our bodies, our existence. This memoir is very personal, deeply personal and existential that it touches every reader. I will read it again and again, as you should Instantly became a favorite. I will read it again and again, as you should. Feb 08, Jp rated it it was ok. I read this book right before I began anatomy lab because my mom sent it to me.
My favorite part is probably the beginning, when she's describing going to medical school for the first time, getting a briefcase full of bones, and meeting eccentric Brown Medical Students.
Apart from that, I have to say I couldn't identify with much of what else she wrote. I feel like she tried to make a bigger deal out of dissecting human bodies then is normally the case. To quote, and this is after taking out a h I read this book right before I began anatomy lab because my mom sent it to me. To quote, and this is after taking out a human heart and testing out the functions of the valves which prevent backflow of blood through the heart much like a parachute : "To visualize the valves' function, Lex and I decide to take a heart to the sink and pour water through the pulmonary trunk toward the ventricle.
THe semilunar valves work like a dream, catching the water as sails catch wind, closing fast and preventing any leakage. It is astonishing, almost impossible to believe. If you're interested in how the body works and you want a sort of coming of age story combined then this book is great. I did enjoy reading it, but I was disappointed by all the exaggeration when I finally started doing dissections of my own. Granted, there's a lot of incredibly cool things about a human body, and I should use this opportunity to name some.
One of the first things I saw that was amazing was the thoracolumbar fascia, which is just a fancy name for a tough sheet of tissue that is used as a sort of honestly, I don't know all of what it's for anchoring point for some muscles, and protective covering.
The reason I think it's cool is because it basically looks and feels identical to thin fiberglass, which helps support the analogy of man to machine. In a similar vein, all the tendons of the arms and feet act just like strings on a puppet. Anatomy is probably impossible to properly describe through words alone, I recommend getting a body or going on tour at a local cadaver lab.
Sep 05, Tom Quinn rated it it was amazing.
Love and Human Remains
Search: Title Author Article. Rate this book. A hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cuts her open Christine Montross was a nervous first-year medical student, standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class, preparing herself for what was to come. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags is shocking no matter how long you've prepared yourself, but a strange thing happened when Montross met her cadaver. Instead of being disgusted by her, she was utterly intrigued - intrigued by the person the woman once was, humbled by the sacrifice she had made in donating her body to science, fascinated by the strange, unsettling beauty of the human form. They called her Eve. This is the story of Montross and Eve - the student and the subject - and the surprising relationship that grew between them.
Body of Work : Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab
Genre: Memoir. Toggle navigation. Annotated by: Ratzan, Richard M. Date of entry: May Last revised: May Summary Body of Work is a cleverly crafted memoir - or, rather, the first chapter of a memoir - of the author's medical school experience at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island. Ms Montross relates the chronological course of her team's dissection of a female cadaver with no discernible umbilicus and whom they therefore name Eve. She neglects to comment on Eve's ribs and whether she has the normal complement or a supernumerary, more masculine, rib.
Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab
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