Koff’s genuine, emotionally-charged voice within her memoir, The Bone Woman, brings life and self-awareness to her readers. She writes about her missions for the United Nations as a forensic anthropologist, digging up mass graves in Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The scientific terms and technical jargon within the field of anthropology and politics do not shadow or distract from the beautifully tragic stories of victims within these mass graves. She brings the bones of men, women, and children back to life with her personal reflections of events before and during her stay within each culture. Even though many will never be identified by name, she gives the bodies their voices back by telling their death stories and bringing those who performed these crimes against humanity to justice. Koff is not only a scientist, but she is also a humanitarian that moves people with her stark, yet melodic, language.
This memoir is a highly recommended read for human’s rights activists, anthropologists (wishful or actual), nonfiction-lovers, and anyone looking for something new and meaningful in a field or area unfamiliar to them (that’s what led me to read it!).
Reviewed by: Leandra Griffith