12. Judy Melinek – Working Stiff

I finished a new book yesterday – Working Stiff by Judy Melinek, M.D. and T.J. Mitchell. I actually had to read this book for my Biology class, but since it’s a novel and not a textbook, I’m still going to review it.

Judy Melinek, M.D. & T.J. Mitchell - Working Stiff (photo taken by me)
Judy Melinek, M.D. & T.J. Mitchell – Working Stiff (photo taken by me)

The book is titled Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner. Judy Melinek is a medical examiner and this book tells the story of her training at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Throughout the book, she talks about different cases she encountered and how she dealt with them. She addresses her role in dealing with the families of the deceased that she works with and even her experience after 9/11. She also intertwines stories about her homelife into the book, sharing how her work has affected her outside life.

This book does have some gruesome details, and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone with a very queasy stomach. I actually have taken a Forensics class at my school, so the topics covered in this book weren’t entirely new for me. Obviously, learning about dead people and autopsies is bound to have some gross aspects to it, but this book also offers so much more.

I thought this book was humbling. It makes you realize how easy it actually is to die, but you also see that a lot of the deaths Melinek dealt with were avoidable in one way or another. It also shows you how a medical examiner’s job is much more than dissecting bodies, they also have to put together the whole story of the death as well as interact with the people’s relatives.

This book was very interesting. It was informative and a very easy read – I flew through it in my spare time in two days. I was actually kind of sad when I finished it because I had really grown to like Melinek’s voice in the book and her presentation of the stories. If this kind of stuff interests you, this book is definitely worth a read.


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