Thursday, July 16, 2020

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

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the CrematorySmoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is the story of Caitlin Doughty's ruminations on death and dying interspersed with her own journey from death touched little girl to licensed mortician.

My wife and I are big fans of Caitlin Doughty's Ask a Mortician series on Youtube and I bought this for my wife, who gave it to me as a reading assignment upon her completion.

Caitlin's writing has a funny yet respectful tone, much like her Youtube series. She details death practices and beliefs from around the world but the really interesting bits where about Caitlin herself. The funny tone makes a topic a lot of people find distasteful easy to digest and I kinda wish she'd try her hand at writing some crematorium based mysteries or something.

Raised in Hawaii, Caitlin saw a little girl fall from an escalator and die in a mall when she was a kid, forever changing the trajectory of her life. From there, she went from goth to crematory operator to mortuary school, pondering death the whole way.

There are darkly humorous stories, like molten fat gushing out of a cremation machine like something in a Three Stooges short, to poignant moments like Caitlin having to cremate a box of babies from the local hospital. She also pulls back the black curtain shrouding the funeral industry, an industry full of lies and pressure to upsell. Shady shit.

If you've been entertained by Caitlin's Ask a Mortician videos, this is a must read. Four out of five cremulators.

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