Down Among the Dead Men by Michelle Williams
Published September 7, 2012
- Author Michelle Williams
The next book I had in my list of occupation-related memoirs was this, a look at life in the mortuary of a hospital. At first glance, you’d consider this a morbid book to want to get into, but it’s written so well - heartfelt, honest, and firmly with the view that this is a job that needs to be done and it needs to be done by someone who cares.
There are some graphic scenes involved, and it can get a bit grizzly in places - particularly as I do most of my reading over a lunch hour - but those darker moments are offset with team-building exercises. Christmas parties, weekends away at the rugby and more, they help to build a well-rounded picture of the type of people who deal with the dead for a living.
What I liked most about this book was the lack of angst against employers. Previous NHS related books I have read have spent plenty of time ranting against targets (understandable, but not necessarily fascinating reading) but this was something different. There were the individual tales of the lives (and deaths) of patients, with the inner workings of the department, as well as a personal journey for Michelle, our author, to go on. I enjoyed it but naturally it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.