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Search tags: caitlin-doughty
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review 2018-04-13 16:21
Looking for death in all the right places
From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death - Caitlin Doughty

Here I am talking about death again. Part of me worries that 'harping' on about this subject and these books will turn away the average reader to my blog but the larger part of me (and the one who runs things) believes that if I am going to be authentic with my reviews then I have to follow my mood with what books I voluntarily choose to read. That being said, I'm here to talk about Caitlin Doughty's second book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. As the title suggests, this is a bit more of a travelogue piece about the death industry. This book explores in depth the way that death is viewed, celebrated, and treated in different countries and cultures. [A/N: I don't know that it needs to be necessarily spelled out but just in case: This book is not for those who shy away from talk of decomposition and graphic depictions of death in general.] Caitlin visits places both far-flung and just around the riverbend all in search of what she terms the Good Death. (For more info visit her website to see if you'd like to join her group.)  She attended an open air cremation where the body is laid atop a pyre and the ceremony is experienced by all members of the community (Colorado). In Japan the families are brought in after the body has been cremated so that they can extricate the bones by chopstick to place them in an urn for safekeeping. She experienced Fiesta de las Ñatitas in La Paz and spoke to those who celebrate these saints by collecting and displaying shrunken skulls (and in some cases mummified heads). One of my favorite places that she described was the Corpse Hotel in Japan where you can visit your deceased family member in the comfort and splendor of an upscale hotel. Overall, From Here to Eternity is a fascinating look at the way that death is addressed by various cultures around the world. It serves as a sobering reminder that death is not accepted but rather feared here in America. If you are interested in the ways that others approach death and how they treat their dead (some cultures revisit the dead to clean and redress them as a sign of honor and remembrance) then I urge you to read this book. 9/10

 

P.S. I'm not done with books on this subject. Keep an eye out for at least 1 possibly 2 more in the not too distant future.

 

What's Up Next: How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-29 08:01
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory - Caitlin Doughty

TITLE:  Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory 

 

AUTHOR:  Caitlin Doughty

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2014

 

FORMAT:  e-book

 

ISBN-13:  978-0-393-24595-0

___________________________

 

This is something of an autobiography.  Caitlin Doughty muses about her experience working in a crematorium, the funeral/morturary business and her opinions about death, dying and, what happens to the corpse afterwards, and how different cultures deal with their dead.  The author is witty without being vulgar, the book interesting and well written.  I do however think the book was a bit too superficial.  She could have written so much more.

 

 

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review 2018-03-10 01:33
I swear I'm okay
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory - Caitlin Doughty

I've been thinking about death a lot. And not in an existential way or in a 'oh man she needs professional help' kinda way. I've been thinking about the culture of death and how I'd like my own death to be handled. To that end, I chose a few titles which I'm convinced has skewed the way my co-workers view me. (lol but really) The first is Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. (I'll be discussing her second book at a later date.) This is the autobiographical story of how Caitlin came to work in a crematory and the path that it led her down to discover the 'good death'. It's an exceptionally frank discussion of death but more specifically death culture (or lack thereof) in the United States. Here in America it's a taboo subject. Many people choose to remain ignorant of the reality of death because of a fear of their own (and their loved one's) mortality. Caitlin talks about the current death practices of burial, embalming, cremation, green burials (many different kinds), and donation to science. It reminded me that I should really draw up a will with the specifics of what I want and then discuss it with those who will most likely be honoring my wishes. (And you'd better do what I say or I'll haunt you! hahaha but really)

 

The truth is we are all going to die one day. Wouldn't it be better to see this as natural and be prepared for it? Having open discussions with those who will be charged with taking care of you after you have died makes the process less fraught with uncertainties and fear. Centuries ago, death was embraced because it was necessary to confront it head-on. There were no mortuaries like we know them today. The family was the one who cleaned, wrapped, and sometimes buried the bodies. The grieving process wasn't rushed but was allowed to progress naturally. (Think about the last funeral you attended and how the viewing was timed. Nowadays, you have to leave the cemetery before the casket is even lowered into the earth. Everything is orchestrated and sterile.) I don't think it's morbid to plan ahead and to try to make it as simple and straightforward as possible so that in the end it's about the life that I led and not the stress and confusion of what to do with me once I'm dead. 8/10

 

Something I made a few years ago about a similar book.

 

What's Up Next: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers edited by Hollis Robbins and Henry Louis Gates

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-16 19:29
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory - Caitlin Doughty,Caitlin Doughty,Recorded Books LLC

“A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves.”

 

I sometimes think I’ve missed my life’s true calling. That of being a mortuary worker.  But after reading this book I’m not so sure. I always thought the idea of working with people who didn’t talk back was a nice one, you know?  No office politics, no grumpy personalities to tip-toe around, no one stealing your lunch and there’s never a lack of business. Sounds like bliss to me. Until I read this book which shattered those daydreams. There are some unsavory, heartbreaking and infuriating parts of the job that I never considered like . . .

 

Incinerating Babies

Gushing molten fat

Cheap ass relatives

Moving heavy bodies into the incinerator by yourself

Heads. Yep. Just the heads.

 

But then again, no job is perfect, right?

 

Caitlin Doughty captures her experiences while working at a mortuary and later going to school to make it official, with humor, insight and horror. I loved every captivating word. She has an extremely fanciful imagination and morbid wit that keeps you listening even when things get really dark or really disgusting and believe me they get disgusting!

 

She delves deep into the history of death rituals and how it all evolved into the system currently in place today.  She doesn’t pull any punches and explains how embalming, though once a necessity on the battlefield, has morphed into nothing more than a money maker for the death industry. Fascinating! I always wondered why bodies weren’t buried naturally and given back to the earth and now I know the reason and it’s pretty damn depressing.

 

Doughty narrates this audiobook and she does a fantastic job. She knows her material best, after all, and her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. She adds humor in all the right spots and it never feels forced. She has a strong grasp on the toll that being surrounded by death brings on those who deal with it day in and day out. She and her co-workers look at the world a little differently than most folks.  I guess it’s hard not to when you face down death and deal with the aftermath every day. Death happens to everyone sooner or later and there’s no point living your life fearful of it coming for you. And it is coming for you!

 

 “We are just future corpses.”

 

If you’re a morbid sort such as I, I highly recommend this book to you.

 

 

 

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review 2015-11-30 00:00
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory - Caitlin Doughty This review was also posted at Carole's Random Life

This was the best little book that I didn't even know that I wanted to read. I have to say that I would have probably never picked this book up for myself. I didn't even know that this book existed until it showed up at my house a couple of weeks ago. My initial impression of the book when I received was lackluster at best. I thought it was an advance copy of a book at first because the cover looks just so unfinished. Nothing about this book screamed "Read Me" at first glance. But then I decided to pick it up and my thoughts changed very quickly.

Whatever stars lined up on the day this book found its way to my home, I can't say but I am very grateful. This really is the perfect book for me. I have a slight fascination with death. My favorite class in college was Death Education. When the local coroner came to class to give a presentation complete with slides, I was completely impressed. I have never worked in the death industry but my husband actually has delivered caskets part-time for the past couple of years.

This book deals with a difficult subject in a way that really pulls the reader in. I think everyone could find something in this book that they would relate to in these pages. I liked that this book made me think and it also made me laugh. I didn't think that this was a sad or depressing book at all which is kind of surprising when you think of the subject matter. I learned a lot from reading this book. There are so many misconceptions regarding death and the funeral industry. I do think that most people really would appreciate this honest look at the subject.

Each of the people that are in this book really add to the overall story. Everyone from Caitlin's co-workers to the families who have lost someone they loved really had a story to tell. I liked the parts that featured Caitlin's co-workers because I feel like it takes a special kind of person to want to do this kind of work. People who work in the funeral industry really see people when they are at their worst but they must stay at their best. It has to be incredibly hard to do that day after day. I really appreciated the parts of the book that really let us see how much this kind of work affected the author.

I liked the way that this book was written. I was completely engaged in the book from the very beginning. I think it reads almost like one of your friends are telling you a story. Even the more educational sections that gave some history were completely mesmerizing. There was enough lighthearted and funny moments to balance out the sections that were really anything but funny.

I would highly recommend to others. I think that this is a topic that we need to know more about and this is an entertaining way to get a peek. This is the first book by Caitlin Doughty that I have read but I would definitely read more of her work in the future.

I received a copy of this book from W.W. Norton & Company for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Initial Thoughts
I loved this book! This isn't a book that I would have ever picked up for myself but it was a great fit for me.
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