Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From The Crematory Hardcover – Sep 16 2014
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Caitlin Doughty takes you to places you didn’t know you wanted to go. Fascinating, funny, and so very necessary, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes reveals exactly what's wrong with modern death denial. — Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
Alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, fascinating and freaky, vivid and morbid, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is witty, sharply drawn, and deeply moving. Like a poisonous cocktail, Caitlin Doughty's memoir intoxicates and enchants even as it encourages you to embrace oblivion; she breathes life into death. — Dodai Stewart, deputy editor of Jezebel.com
[Doughty’s] sincere, hilarious, and perhaps life-altering memoir is a must-read for anyone who plans on dying. — Katharine Fronk (Booklist, Starred review)
Caitlin Doughty is best known for her YouTube series Ask a Mortician, and she brings the same charisma and drollery to her essay collection Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Think Sloane Crosley meets Six Feet Under. — Kevin Nguyen (Grantland)
Entertaining and thought-provoking. — Julia Jenkins (Shelf Awareness)
Demonically funny dispatches. — O Magazine
Morbid and illuminating. — Entertainment Weekly
A book as graphic and morbid as this one could easily suck its readers into a bout of sorrow, but Doughty—a trustworthy tour guide through the repulsive and wondrous world of death—keeps us laughing. — Rachel Lubitz (Washington Post)
Doughty reels you in with wonderful anecdotes about her work. Intermixed with the humor is a love of life that will make you reconsider how our culture treats the dead. — San Francisco Chronicle
About the Author
Caitlin Doughty is a licensed mortician and the host and creator of the "Ask a Mortician" web series. She founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and cofounded Death Salon. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author, Caitlin Doughty seems to have a natural affinity to connect with the reader. Her writing seems effortless and I had to stop and check and see if this really WAS her first book (which it is). Excellent writing and a story that is told one on one.
Doughty starts off sharing what its like to be her, with imperfections and all. She takes us from her upbringing in Hawaii to the mainland and her new home in the death industry. This book reads like a novel and is filled with anecdotal funny parts as well as poignant bits that really make you think about, well, your life and your death.
She writes warmly about her friends in the funeral home and how they teach her the ins and outs of the trade. Its really a terrific read and one of my favorite reads so far this year.
Pros: Read it if you like, rich, semi-autobiographical, funny, quirky, cute reads about life and…. death. This is a great book to read for fun or if you are grappling with questions around care of a loved one that is close to the end.
Cons: None for me. It isn’t a textbook on the death industry or a “Do it yourself cremation: How to bury at home for less” guide. It isn’t technical but it is subjective. Doughty shares her opinion on the death industry in North America - it may be different than your own.
Big thumbs up! Buy it for a good read.
Although the main bulk of the book is on the author’s professional life, some space is devoted to her personal life as well as on her evolving philosophical attitudes towards death and dying.
The prose is friendly, lively, often humorous and witty and quite captivating; I found this book to be an easy, quick, enjoyable read. This book should appeal the most to those who are curious about how our bodies are dealt with after we pass away (and are not afraid to read about the often gory details).
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" pretty much stands on its own: there are books about life, books about death, and many authors attempt a little humour along the way. It is rare to find a book in which these very human experiences blend so effectively.
Perhaps it helps that my own post-secondary academic flirtation was in the field of mediaeval studies, and that prior to discovering the author's own interests, I started reading the book with a glass of wine in one hand, while listening to the music of John Dowland (if you know a little about Renaissance death culture, you'll get that comment).
Other readers doubtless were drawn by Caitlin Doughty's wonderfully refreshing "Ask a Mortician" series on You Tube.
Either way, the reader discovers--or rediscovers--an eloquent writer of great wit, a person one can relate to.
However our personal fantasies may go, "Six Feet Under" and "Dexter" might open up the public consciousness on matters of death, but they are more directed at breaking taboos for the shock value.
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" does seem to borrow a bit from that genre of gallows humour, but the author's desire to educate and reform comes through clearly, raising it above voyeurism in a tasteful yet entertaining manner.
North American society might not be psychologically ready for the revolution that Caitlin Doughty is trying to mobilize. We've had nearly two centuries of fear-based formula religion. We've been shell-shocked by armed conflicts, and numbed by violence. Our response as a society has not been healthy.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I bought this after reading a couple of memoirs on the funerary and undertaking business wanting more about the cremation end. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nicola Mansfield
Tough and true, this a call to rethink our approach to death and dying. Denying and hiding, as we do, is not healthy for us and not respectful to our departed loved ones. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donna Daitchman
Caitlin Doughty is an excellent writer who keeps you captivated with wit and charm. The stories she recounts, though filled with corpses and decaying flesh, leave you with a sense... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
An informative, touching & at times, laugh-out-loud non-fiction book that discusses our Western attitudes towards death & dying & why they need to change. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bookwurm27
A refreshing take on Death & how we handle our deceased loved ones.Published 6 months ago by Sophie
A very interesting reading about the death! Is one of this book that you need to read every single day and don't stop until the end! I love it is one of my favorites nowPublished 7 months ago by Andrea V.
So well written and entertaining. I learned so much about things I've never thought much about before and discovered how interesting this subject actually is to me.Published 15 months ago by Marie
I read this book in its entirety in one sitting. I loved it completely, as it made my obsession with death seem okay and my fear of it normal but a thing that could be overcome. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Enorema