Oh boy this is going to something different for me to be talking about. My first book review, on death. Fantastic! Great start Nerdy, I’m sure everyone has just clicked away my this post as the subject is depressing, morbid and in the West, pretty taboo. But please, stay! Feed your own morbid curiosity along with me! It’ll be fun…I promise.
If you haven’t heard of Caitlin Doughty, she is an American mortician who is probably best known for her YouTube channel ‘Ask a Mortician’. After discovering Doughty’s channel earlier this year I become hooked on learning about the seemingly taboo topic of death. She discusses everything from iconic corpses to decomposition. She released her first book ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ back in 2014 and it recounts her journey through working her first job in a crematorium and her many goals and aspirations leading to her career as a mortician. Her YouTube channel soon led me to her book ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’.
Although the topic of death is often something to be shunned and hidden away from us living in society it’s something we, as humans all have in common. You may expect a book dedicated to this subject would be depressing, right? Well, yes but also no. Doughty has a way with words. She writes as if she is having a conversation with the reader and she actually makes things, pretty amusing. I genuinely had a few times when I laughed out loud because the pictures she painted with her words seemed almost comical. Her humour and storytelling made the topic somewhat lighter and made reading about this hushed up subject interesting.
‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ is a very easy read. No complicated mortician only lingo is spewed within its chapters. You don’t have to work at the book to understand what she is trying to explain. It flows well luring the reader to continue on.
Whether people want to own up to it or not death comes to all of us at some point. Man, that sounds depressing but it’s a simple fact whether you want to hear it or not (unless science creates the key to immortality within the next few years). Doughty makes it less frightening and in a way that is easy to comprehend. She takes away the spooky curtains of the death industry and makes things clear, understandable and made me more aware of the rights people have when it comes to death. I understand the process of cremation, embalming and even what can happen with body donations now. Having some understanding of these process makes them less frightening.
Whilst this is far from the most cheerful book to read in terms of overall subjects I couldn’t recommend it more. Some of it is morbidly comical, other parts are upsetting and some is just interesting facts. If you’re looking to better understand the dark crevices of the death industry then Doughty does it in the most delightful of ways.
Overall rating: 8/10
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!
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