13 November 2014

Book Review: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Earlier this month I told you about the book Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory- the stories told by Caitlin Doughty after her working in a crematory.
Now that I have read the book I can review it for you guys.

The book is basically a memoir written by Doughty, featuring her first ever experience with the death industry, her studying in mortuary school later on and her establishing The Order Of The Good Death.

It is a book about her personal experience with working with death (as a job and concept) as well as a book about the death industry. I was happy to dive into her own confrontation with dead bodies, mourning customers of the crematory she worked at and the way she herself described the subject of death and dying and how her view on it is changed throughout the book.

Though I was also excited that the book had a lot of information about the trade in itself: what practically happens in a crematory, how bodies are embalmed (I was equally grossed and satisfied with that very detailed chapter) and how the death industry established itself in the United States.

If you are someone completely new to the subject then you have a lot to discover about the trade in this book. The historical information provided was very interesting for me, I am happy that I stumbled across a book which turned out to be so educational!

As for the perspective on death part, I personally wasn´t new to the subject of death, as we subcultural people do come across it in it´s philosophical sense quite often. I liked that Doughty presented the way people address death nowadays, and how the death industry profits from selling caskets and "death packages" like any other business in the world, which is a bit sad considering the different ways we can embrace death (not in the goth way of the word).

There is a lot of room for wondering about the subject of mortality in the book. Doughty´s life story and her personal development as a "character" in the book provided a sort of a plot, which is exactly what one might expect from a memoir.
It left a very touching feeling when I finished it. I delayed finishing this book, it was a lot of fun to read, easy yet deep, grim yet funny with lots and lots of juicy details. I recommend!

N. Finsternis

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