Good afternoon! I’m trying out a new weekly meme, created by Kimberly Faye Reads. This is where I feature a title that is on my shelf, whether physical or virtual, that I intend to read but haven’t been able to get to just yet. Today’s post features Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Creatory by Caitlin Doughty.
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).
It’s got a 4.03 star rating at Goodreads with over 20 thousand ratings. I bought it a while back when I first started getting into women’s memoirs and started the first chapter. I don’t remember why I stopped reading it but I do remember that by the time I went to go back to it, I had migrated from Nook to Kindle and it’s stuck on Nook. I still plan to get back to it, eventually, when I’m done with my reading challenges, as part of shelf control….
Yeah, that’s about how that motivation goes. I feel the same way about some other books I’ve bought. The problem is that there is no hurry to read them once I have them because I have them forever and library books for only a short time. Maybe I just need a little motivation, what do you guys think? Anyone heard of this one? Would you recommend it?