Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. Though it never goes for the Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab – Kindle edition by Christine Montross. Download it once and read it on your . Montross, Christine Body of Work is a cleverly crafted memoir – or, rather, the first chapter of a memoir – of the author’s medical school. A “gleaming, humane” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and a first-year medical student Medical.

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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.

As she and her team of four later three as one student drops out of school proceed with the orderly dismantling of Eve, bone by bone, nerve by nerve and blood vessel by blood vessel, she uses this experience as a springboard to analyze her and her team’s emotional reactions to the often unnatural process of deconstructing, literally at times with a sawa former person now cadaver, as well as the gradual, almost imperceptible acculturation that transmogrifies medical students into doctors.


In fact, she devotes the final pages to this metamorphosis and what it means to the person undergoing the transition from caring student to detached physician, and whether one can retain enough caring, while remaining sufficiently detached to function as one must as a clinician, to become both a whole person and competent physician: Anthony; another trip to the anatomical wax sculptures museum in Bologna, where the author also observes the “incorrupt corpse of Santa Caterina” in a “small church called Corpus Domini” pages ; interspersed histories of the traffic of corpses for dissection, including the infamous Burke and Hare story; some flash-forwards to her second and third years; and a prolonged narration of the final illnesses of her grandmother and grandfather.

Bookface: Body of Work, by Christine Montross

This last bit of family history is worth the price of the book alone. Despite the apparently incongruous collection of such asides, the christtine makes it work smoothly, if not seamlessly.

Commentary Frankly, I had my doubts – having read more than my share of first person narratives about becoming a physician and one’s reflections thereupon, from Thomas Browne to Wilder Graves Penfield to Arthur E. Hertzler to William A. Chen – whether I wanted to chriwtine yet another one.


Make no mistake about it: Body of Work is a narrative of the medical student’s rite of passage far better written than most although not including all the aforementioned authors, some of whom have furnished laudatory od for the author on the book jacketby a sensitive woman who describes herself prior to medical school as “at various times a poet, a university writing instructor, a high-school English teacher to a group of troubled kids.

It is sensitive, erudite, scholarly, and meticulously assembled; in fact, it gathers structure and coherence the more Eve disintegrates before our eyes. Some may find the introspection excessive, particularly towards the end of the course,which is the end of the book. Such is the tension of a micro-analysis.

Body of Work

Such is the risk of writing and reading a phenomenology of self-change. Since Ms Montross often wonders about the real Eve and wishes she did know more, this book would make an interesting companion to Marshall Goldberg’s The Anatomy Lessonreviewed in this database. Miscellaneous The author is currently a resident in psychiatry at Chhristine University.

Publisher The Penguin Press.

Place Published New York.