Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is not only a candid memoir with a healthy dose of black humor, but an insightful conversation on the art of dying and an earnest call for a death positive revolution. Recommended By Hayley H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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).
"A book as graphic and morbid as this one could easily suck its readers into a bout of sorrow, but Doughty — a trustworthy tour guide through the repulsive and wondrous world of death — keeps us laughing." Rachel Lubitz, Washington Post
A young mortician goes behind the scenes, unafraid of the gruesome (and fascinating) details of her curious profession.
About the Author
Caitlin Doughty is a licensed mortician and the host and creator of the "Ask a Mortician" web series. She founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and cofounded Death Salon. She lives in Los Angeles.