Caitlin Doughty does for us what Jessica Mitford did in 1963 with The American Way of Death. Doughty writes a beautiful and thought-provoking memoir, reminding us that, as Americans, we do not acknowledge or respect death as a reality of life. She discusses how we've allowed our grieving and death rituals to become cold and commercialized. An honest look into the modern death industry and how we don't - but really should - understand it.
Did you ever read the first line of a book to see if it grabbed you? Well, this odd memoir grabbed me from the first sentence and wouldn't let go until the end of the source notes. Most of us probably hold at least a little bit of morbid curiosity about what goes on behind the doors at your local crematorium. Your curiosity will be more than satisfied by Ms. Doughty's account of her years as a burgeoning mortician. In addition to details such as how they keep those darn eyelids closed during the funeral, Doughty educates us on death rituals from around the world and obscure funeral laws. There was a day when the families of the dead were responsible for preparing the bodies for burial, but -- with the advent of the funeral business -- our society has become detached from the reality of death, to the point of denial. Doughty seeks to reconnect us with the very last page of the last chapter in our book of life.
"Morbid and illuminating" (Entertainment Weekly)—a young mortician goes behind the scenes of her curious profession.
Armed with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre, Caitlin Doughty took a job at a crematory and turned morbid curiosity into her life’s work. She cared for bodies of every 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, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes reveals how the fear of dying warps our society and "will make you reconsider how our culture treats the dead" (San Francisco Chronicle).
About the Author
Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and the New York Times best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, From Here to Eternity, and Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? She is the creator of the web series Ask a Mortician, and the founder of The Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, California, where she owns a funeral home.
Demonically funny. — O, The Oprah Magazine
Frank…philosophical…engaging, and even wicked. — Natalie Kusz - New York Times Book Review
Upbeat, brave and brilliantly, morbidly curious…Her measure of society is fierce, right on, and radical…[A]n important and timely book. — Helen Davies - Sunday Times
It may well blow your mind wide open. — Elisabeth Donnelly - Flavorwire
Think Sloane Crosley meets Six Feet Under.
— Kevin Nguyen - Grantland
In a moving—and often funny—memoir about working in a crematorium and other parts of the ‘death industry,’ Caitlin Doughty argues for radical change in how we face the details of death. — Jessica Ferri - Daily Beast
Demonically funny dispatches. — O Magazine
Doughty…a trustworthy tour guide…keeps us laughing most of the way. — Rachel Lubitz - Washington Post
Alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, fascinating and freaky, vivid and morbid, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is witty, sharply drawn, and deeply moving. Like a poisonous cocktail, Caitlin Doughty’s memoir intoxicates and enchants even as it encourages you to embrace oblivion; she breathes life into death.
— Dodai Stewart, deputy editor of Jezebel.com
Caitlin Doughty takes you to places you didn’t know you wanted to go. Fascinating, funny, and so very necessary, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes reveals exactly what’s wrong with modern death denial.
— Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
This book absolutely must be read, if only to remind all of us that exercise, organic food, and plastic surgery only work up to a point. Doughty is my kind of death crusader—compassionate, unblinking, and very, very funny. — Meg Rosoff