A Gemma Open Door book
“Sarajane Woolf’s lively and very funny tale will take you from a dead rhino to Christmas tree bulbs, musty museums to a surgical ward. Yell into the wind; you’re going to enjoy this trip.”
―Sharman Apt Russell, Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist
A woman discovers she has a rogue body part, one she’s never heard of. As she prepares herself for surgery to remove the offense, she travels to London and finds answers to her questions in unexpected places—a locked room in a museum where jars of Victorian body parts are stored, an early 19th century operating room in the attic of a church, and a diary by a woman whose husband dissected a rhinoceros in their flat.
Along the way, she ponders the nature of disease, the unfortunate name given to her errant organ, and the marvels of modern surgery. This is the story of the last body part discovered—the parathyroid gland.
Sarajane Woolf is an essayist whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone, South Dakota Review, The Broome Review, and North Dakota Quarterly. Her South Dakota Review piece was named a “Notable Essay” by Robert Atwan, Series Editor, Best American Essays. She lives with her husband, Nick, in Carpinteria, California and is currently writing a book on the London churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren, The Wren Church Variations.
The Last Body Part
Paper, 100 pages
Reading level: 4.9