Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory – A Book Review

Hey y’all!

I’m back with another book review. I’m really excited about this book because it was a prompt from my book club that’s on Goodreads. The prompt was to read a book from a Youtuber or Blogger, etc and when I saw Caitlin Doughty’s name, I was so happy. I had gone back and forth before on buying one of her 4 books. If you’ve never heard of her, she’s a licensed mortician that lives in California. Her focus is more on green burial and death positivity.

I found her channel after my uncle passed away and I was curious as to what happens when someone is cremated. I found her approach easy to follow and some of her jokes were pretty funny. I then went on a binge and watched so many of her videos on her channel. She’s totally open about the dying process and she has opened my eyes to all of the options for body disposal and taking back our power in our death planning process. In fact, check out this post here to read more about planning our death.

Synopsis

Armed with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre, Caitlin Doughty took a job at a crematory and turned a fascination with death into her life’s work. She cared for bodies of color, shape, and affliction, and became an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. In this best-selling memoir, brimming with gallows humor and vivid characters, she marvels at the gruesome history of undertaking and relates her unique coming-of-age story with bold curiosity and mordant wit. By turns hilarious, dark, and uplifting, this book reveals how fear of dying warps our society and “will make you reconsider how our culture treats the dead” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Review

I loved this book. She explained her first realization with death as a child when she witnessed a little girl plunge to her death while at the mall with her father. She said that experience pretty much put her on the path of accepting her own mortality. She talks about some death rituals that occur with people from all over the world. For example, in South America, one civilization actually eats a corpse as part of their death ritual. Mind you, it’s in a very humid jungle and the corpses are eaten days later which means the odor is awful (to be honest, that’s just gross).

I loved seeing her journey from how she first worked at a crematory and how as she worked there, she got the idea of how death should be presented to society. Throughout her years at the funeral home, she sort of wrote out her business plan for her funeral home that she has today. Little by little you see her beliefs change and her perspective shift.

What’s a book without romance? She speaks about opening up to her longtime friend about her feelings for him and she basically was rejected. Which actually is a trigger for me. Well not that but what she did next was a trigger: she attempted suicide. So that is a trigger warning that I have for you. Personally when I read that part, I was crushed and it brought back memories to when I wanted to kill myself over a guy that I had (or still have if I’m being totally honest) feelings for. In her defense, she didn’t know that she was going to do that or she never realized what was happening until after it happened.

Anyway, it was really cool to see how life has shaped her into the person that she is today. If you haven’t done so, check out her YouTube channel called Ask a Mortician (linked above in this post).

I give this book 4.5/5 stars. Please buy this and any of her other books, I surely will. I got my copy from Amazon but I’m sure you can find her book at local retailers.

XOXO,

LolaDasher

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