[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[This cover is even more badass in person, especially hardback. It’s all shiny gold and pretty and stuff]
“Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America. Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular―and, upon close inspection, peculiar ―set of “respectful” rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.”
[I had to edit this down a lot to even get this down. This was one of those ‘let’s tell the entire book in the synopsis!’ examples I gripe about a lot]
Ah, Caitlyn Doughty. /dreamy sigh/ I hadn’t finished her first book all that long ago and if you remember, she’s the most excellent Mortician who has her own death-information here at: Ask a Mortician
I really couldn’t wait to get my hands and eyeballs on her newest book that just recently came out. Unlike Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, her previous book [which I also reviewed: here] is more about her as a person and her work, whereas From Here to Eternity is about her travels around the world and random parts of the US to look at their ‘death practices’ and continues to point out how prudish and closed minded the US is about dying and death, especially compared to other cultures.
Her travels take her to Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Japan, and Bolivia – and inside the US to Colorado, North Carolina, and California to view/study their death practices. [In the case of the US cities, these are places were ‘non-traditional’ – IE not standard cremation and embalming/casket burials – take place.]
In addition to doing a great job describing said death rituals, there are illustrations that are both cute and creepy that do a great job of bringing a better perspective of what is being described.
Plus as with most of what she has to say, she is constantly challenging how we as humans and especially the American Funeral Industries view and treat death. She has made me realize there’s so much more to be offered after life/what can be done with bodies that I’ve started doing my own research for myself and opened more conversations about that to my family.
I don’t want to ruin a lot of what is described in the book, as it’s also not very long. Some of these I’d say are well known to anyone remotely interested in the macabre of any kind, but there were quite a few in the book that even I didn’t know about. But as with pretty much everything about Doughty, I loved it and it’s a new gem added to my library. If you’re interested or a fan of death culture, this book is also for you.
I give From Here to Eternity 5/5 Cigarette-Smoking Skulls
“The archetypal woman is as a bringer of life. But my body was a tomb.”