So with my enjoyment of the Youtube channel Ask A Mortician, I picked up her first book – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. It is definitely not a book for the squeamish, though this book is not massively graphic. This memoir documents Caitlin’s journey from childhood all the way to her finding her calling as Ask the Mortician and the Order of the Good Death.
She has an amazing talent with gallows humour and is able to tell stories with vivid characters. You really do journey with her, learn with her and feel with her as Caitlin recounts some truly human moments. There is a feeling like you are now so much more intimate a friend with her after this book, and I love that.
This book specifically deals with how death and the funeral industry is run in California. She deals with all sorts of questions in regards to fears, to the process, and options available. Keep in mind a portion of this story is based in a crematory.
This is the person who has led me to consider how do we treat our dead and how do I want my remains to be treated. She asks and tries to give answers to fundamental questions of the why, how, where, who, and what will be done. What are our options? How can we think about things differently? How can we be prepared for these moments?
I would totally recommend this book and just as strongly her youTube channelHERE. Questions of mortality and how our culture, and other cultures deal with this is so important. Zander and I have even watched videos together and discussed them. Caitlin has a real flair with being sensitive and compassionate even with her humour and laughter.
So I have been playing catch up watching Ask a Mortician on YouTube HERE. I cannot suggest her loudly enough. There is great merit to facing death and the resulting activities now. Zander has started watching some of the videos with me, Caitlyn Doughty and her crew cover topics with such great respect and research. Seriously… give her a try. She is entertaining, humorous and a great educator on all things death, dying and how we deal with the physical body left behind.
Anyway, a few of her episodes she suggested multiple books and I ran out to the library and requested the ones I could get my hands on. First to review, Rest in Pieces by Bess Lovejoy.
Perhaps not for the faint of heart, as she does go into some detail, but I really enjoyed this well organized look at “The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses.”
She covers all sorts of people from all over the world from a huge span of time. Curious about the fate of Lord Byron? The full story of Eva Peron, whose corpse could have used a passport? What about the unsolved mystery of Edgar Allen Poe’s final resting place?
This book discusses some of history ‘s most interesting death rituals for dealing with the remains of love one. What do we do with the body once the consciousness is truly gone? Were the last requests honored? This was a real page turner. Well researched, well written and beyond interesting. I would greatly recommend Rest in Pieces for the adult reader.