Monday, August 7, 2017

Audio Book Review: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Title: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Author: Caitlin Doughty
Narrator: Caitlin Doughty
Publisher: W.W. Norton Company
Release Date: September 28, 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir
Length: 7 hours and 44 mintues
Source: Purchased
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Find it Here: Amazon // Audible // Goodreads

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).
My Review:

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty is one of the most interesting and unique memoirs I've ever read. I'm actually not all that into memoirs because the ones that I usually come across are celebrity memoirs and they just don't hold any interest for me. I believe I first heard about Smoke Gets in Your Eyes on the My Favorite Murder podcast and they only had good things to say about it.

Do you ever wonder why we do the things we do with our dead? Why do we preserve them and keep them looking as life like as possible? Why are we so afraid of letting them go? As Caitlin begins her career in the death industry, these are the questions she begins to ask not only herself but America.

Caitlin begins her career in death at a crematory to fulfill her somewhat morbid curiosity with death. As she goes deeper into the industry and learns more about the business, she comes face to face with other cultures and only just begins to scratch the surface of this aversion that Americans and the modern world have to death. As I continued listening to this memoir, the history nerd in me was hoping that she would go deeper into the way various cultures differ in how they deal with their dead. Luckily for me, her new book that's coming out soon is about just that!

If you're a bit of a nerd like me and you've always wondered what happens behind the closed doors of the crematories or funeral homes, I highly recommend Caitlin Doughty memoir. The audio book is just great and I guarantee you will learn more than you think! **Side note** If you like true crime and murder especially, I highly, highly recommend the My Favorite Murder podcast. You won't be disappointed! 

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