Book Review: Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Say hello to the book that brought me out of my two year long reading slump. To the surprise of absolutely nobody that reads this blog said book is all about my favorite subject. That’s right people. We’re talking: murder nope, even more inclusive, we’re talking


Death is a part of life and per

the act of dying; the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism.

so unless you’re like an immortal being or a super saiyan with all the dragon balls, you gon die eventually.

But what happens to our bodies after we die? What process does that entail? Aren’t you the least bit curious??? Well if you aren’t you can skip this review lmao because this book is ALL about the trials and cases of a medical examiner and they are intense, fascinating, and not for the faint of heart.

Little story time! Yay, I know we all love this. So, when I was around 11 I was running around our backyard playing with my best friend, shoeless as I do. Before we moved in the previous tenants had taken out their above ground pool because they were selfish soulless bastards but they had left us a surprise 🙂 That surprise was several raised, spiked, rusty pipes sticking straight up out of the ground.

In my childlike glee I stepped right on one and cut myself badly. So badly you could see the tendons in my foot. I required around 10 stitches and a tetanus shot.

Me and my dad spent hours at the hospital and when I was finally called to the back to be seen and sewn back together my father was ALL. ABOUT. SEEING. THE. INSIDE. OF. MY. FOOT.


Look, I tried to clean it up by myself at home before I realized how serious it was, but when I saw all that blood Young Amanda got dizzy and was like oh nope. NOOOOPE. My dad was like: BLOOD? GORE? STITCHES? He was full of glee as they sewed me back together. And he got a round TWO years later when I was 16 because I ended up slicing my finger on a Snapple bottle in Gym when I was in high school. Don’t ask how or why.

We will…save that story for another day. Just know that after that incident my parents banned me from glass bottles for YEARS.

My point is, some people can handle stuff like guts, gore, bodies, and the like. And some people can’t. And it’s perfectly perfectly okay. However my dad is a big weirdo and that is perfectly not okay tbh 🙂

Massive trigger warnings for this book. It obviously talks about deaths of all kinds and if that’s not your thing, that’s fine!

Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City pathologist two months before the devastating 9/11 attacks. This book chronicles several cases that she works on including the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

The human body is complex. I say that because in one instance you can describe it as being an absolute powerhouse due to everything we can withstand but at the same time life and all we know it is so fragile. Blink and you miss it. One missed step, one faulty turn and it’s over.

It’s unpredictable. It’s why you should try to live as happily as you can.

It feels odd to try to pinpoint my favorite moments in a book that is literally about death and dissecting the human body. What I did enjoy was Judy’s tireless efforts to try to figure out cause of death even when it was near impossible in certain cases. She’s not a machine, she’s not a god, she is a human just like you and me. And still she is meticulous and caring and in the health field that is the number one necessity. I am in the healthcare field myself and unfortunately you run into way too many people who don’t have the patients best interests at heart.

I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for an interesting non-fiction read. It’s hard to think about what happens after life but it’s also fascinating. I have a cousin in the forensic science field so I know she would love this read and if I could convince my demonic father to read he would enjoy it as well.

We’re here for a reason and that is to enjoy what the world has to offer us. We would do well to do it in a way that we benefit from. What I’m saying is live life the way YOU want to. Dance naked, be free, fuck authority.

Next lifetime, I better be reincarnated as a red panda or I will set the world on fire.

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃 5/5

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

  1. Great review! Honestly, I don’t do blood and gore. I get dizzy and and nauseous when people mention massive amount of blood or just terrible accidents they have been in.

    Liked by 1 person

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