[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[That smoke…? IT’S PEOPLE! IT’S MADE OF PEOPPPLLLEEEEEEE]
“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 and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.”
Alright. So first off.
I discovered this book because the author, is also the author/video maker of the Ask a Mortician youtube series and let me tell you — I quickly and heavily became obsessed with this series because of my own interest in mortuary information [and that I’ve wanted to be a mortician for awhile but can’t afford the schooling and/or time] and can say that Caitlyn is a godsend and just really a pure delight. [I may or may not have a major crush, shhh] I consumed this series, watching it whenever I wasn’t sleeping or working and now that I’ve finished it it’s agonizing waiting between episodes. To fill the void, I got her book [and pre-ordered her next one] with the haste of a thousand racehorses that have to pee really bad.
I’ve always been obsessed with death and the macabre, and generally just death culture and not understanding why it’s so taboo – and in these videos and this book I find Caitlyn a kindred spirit in both our mutual obsessions and dark but quirky senses of humor. I drank up this book as hard as I watched the series and there were a few times I laughed aloud at whatever macabre situation was happening and glanced over to see someone staring between me and my book in confusion and maybe some horror.
This book is definitely for anyone like-minded has some offbeat humor and isn’t afraid of the dark. Death is always around us and really we’re in some deep denial about that. Death is scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Other than carefully explaining all the different kinds of manners in which our dead can be prepared, the book also gives a lot of insight on the funeral and various death industries in general.
The book also goes through a lot of the author’s life starting from what ‘got her into’ her obsession [note: It’s not pleasant] to deaths in her life, to her schooling, jobs, and personal experiences in the death industry. It also touches a lot in her personal life in general – the goods and the bads. The stories don’t hold back, and some of them are very sad/emotional in general.
It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you have an open mind about death, it’s amazing.
I give Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 5/5 Trocars
“When at last the situation was under control, I looked down to find my dress stained with warm human fat. [Would you call this color burnt sienna, or is it more of a marigold? – I wondered] I was sweaty, defeated, and drenched in human lard, but I felt alive.”