Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughtya twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabretook a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her lifes work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didnt know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead)....
|Title||:||Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory|
|Number of Pages||:||272 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Smoke » Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory|
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Reviews
I think this book gets the award for best opening line.
"A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves."
So, yeah, I was pulled in from the beginning. Caitlin is 23 and lands her first job as a mortician. Why you ask? Well, turns out she is terrified of death. Has been ever since she saw a documentary that depicted death when she was very young. She is obsessed with thoughts of her, her family, and friends demise.
The beginning wasted no time in taking me right into the world of the mortici ...more
“What does not kill me makes me stronger.” – Nietzsche
I was thoroughly impressed by this memoir and social commentary on death and dying written by such a young woman. Caitlin Doughty, at the age of 23, has produced an impressive, well researched commentary on how we as a society perceive death, talk (or not talk) about death, and view the body and what happens post-mortem. She brings the death industry to light as well as the options available for burial or cremation. She speaks frankly and doe ...more
(3.5) Caitlin Doughty, a funeral director in her early thirties, is on a mission. Her goal? Nothing less than completely changing how we think about death and the customs surrounding it. Her odyssey through the death industry began when she was 23 and started working at suburban San Francisco’s Westwind Crematorium. She had spent her first 18 years in Hawaii and saw her first dead body at age eight when she went to a Halloween costume contest at the mall and saw a little girl plummet 30 feet ove ...more
My fascination with the macabre and death is perhaps a case of staring at the boogeyman till he loses its power over me.
This book gave me the opportunity to stare very hard!
Part memoir, part research and full of the right intentions this book covers a range of death related topics:
1) Death rituals of other cultures and just how skewed the Western worlds desire to detach itself so completely from death and any reminder of its own mortality
2) Death through he ages – from medieval times to now
3) Co ...more
Death drives every creative and destructive impulse we have as human beings. The closer we come to understanding it, the closer we come to understanding ourselves.
I struggled with this book. It was very interesting and I especially found the idea that most of us are not in touch with our mortality and that we try and avoid death and everything related to it at all cost thought-provoking. On the down side I couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be a memoir or not, and it felt a bit like the b ...more
"The meaning of life is that it ends."
This book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory is difficult to characterize. It's part memoir and part history of death customs; but it is also an advocacy for a much needed change in the way our society views death, the deceased and our own mortality. The author, Caitlin Doughty, describes herself as a 'death-positive' mortician. She also blogs about issues and attitudes regarding mortality and she has a web series called 'A ...more
Amazing! Yes, it is about death, but not in the way one would typically think. It was difficult for me to describe this book to friends who asked what I was currently reading, as most would give me a funny look when I said it is about a woman who worked at a crematory. However, I can say with great confidence that Ms. Doughty has written one of the most interesting, thought-provoking pieces I have read in a very long time. She poses many questions and notions about death, and does something not ...more
This book provides a thorough description of bodily death and decomposition. Death is part of life. But it has been mostly hidden from our lives by modern western culture. So the material from this book is bitter medicine for most readers unaccustomed to these details. It's an unpleasant subject, but the reader is wiser for having read it.
The book is structured around the author's memoir of her several years working in the funeral business (i.e. body disposal business). This experience included ...more