Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty has had a fascination with death since she was a child. This led her to a degree in medieval history, but when that failed to entice potential employers upon graduation, she took her fascination with the macabre and sought out work at a crematorium. In Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, she reflects on her time spent with the deceased from every possible background you could imagine (and plenty that you never wanted to to begin with), marveling at the biological process of death, humankind’s history of how we have dealt with death, operating a crematory, the best and worst practices of the funeral business, and everything in between. What could be–and often is–a difficult subject is masterfully presented in Doughty’s care as she artfully demystifies and de-stigmatizes much of the current popular opinion surrounding death. She is at once hilarious, thoughtful, curious, and skeptical. I’ll wager this is the most fun and fascinating morbid material you ever have the pleasure to read. I also highly recommend the audio–read by the author and oozing with her wry humor–if you have the means and desire to purchase it (unfortunately, only available via Audible at present). I will undoubtedly be returning to this in the future, and I am so excited for Doughty’s forthcoming book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death.


Reviewed by: Lindsay on June 30, 2017

Number of Pages: 272

Tags: History, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Science

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