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Informative,
Insightful,
Interesting

3 reviews

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty

Published: 2014-09-15
Hardcover : 272 pages
3 members reading this now
14 clubs reading this now
2 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members

A young mortician goes behind the scenes, unafraid of the gruesome (and fascinating) details of her curious profession.

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty?a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre?took a job at a ...

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Introduction

A young mortician goes behind the scenes, unafraid of the gruesome (and fascinating) details of her curious profession.

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty?a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre?took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s 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 didn’t 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).

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by [email protected] (see profile) 01/19/20

For someone who never realized how far removed she was from death and how that unknown has likely only contributed to her life long anxieties surrounding her own inevitable death and the deaths of the... (read more)

 
by [email protected] (see profile) 01/14/20

I really liked the book. It made me think about my mom and my grandma. My grandma was embalmed and buried and my mom was cremated. It also made me think about what I want for myself.

 
by KarenUK (see profile) 10/27/16

 
by faydramarie (see profile) 08/24/16

 
  "You won't read another book quite like it!"by LeighEvans (see profile) 07/08/15

Although the subject might make you squirm, the content is very insightful and interesting. I got a lot out of reading this book and also enjoyed a thoughtful discussion. I would highly recommend this... (read more)

 
  "Smoke Gets in your Eyes"by maayday69 (see profile) 06/24/15

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and kept me turning the pages. I would definitely recommend this book.

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