Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory - Caitlin Doughty, Caitlin Doughty, Recorded Books LLC

“A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves.”

 

I sometimes think I’ve missed my life’s true calling. That of being a mortuary worker.  But after reading this book I’m not so sure. I always thought the idea of working with people who didn’t talk back was a nice one, you know?  No office politics, no grumpy personalities to tip-toe around, no one stealing your lunch and there’s never a lack of business. Sounds like bliss to me. Until I read this book which shattered those daydreams. There are some unsavory, heartbreaking and infuriating parts of the job that I never considered like . . .

 

Incinerating Babies

Gushing molten fat

Cheap ass relatives

Moving heavy bodies into the incinerator by yourself

Heads. Yep. Just the heads.

 

But then again, no job is perfect, right?

 

Caitlin Doughty captures her experiences while working at a mortuary and later going to school to make it official, with humor, insight and horror. I loved every captivating word. She has an extremely fanciful imagination and morbid wit that keeps you listening even when things get really dark or really disgusting and believe me they get disgusting!

 

She delves deep into the history of death rituals and how it all evolved into the system currently in place today.  She doesn’t pull any punches and explains how embalming, though once a necessity on the battlefield, has morphed into nothing more than a money maker for the death industry. Fascinating! I always wondered why bodies weren’t buried naturally and given back to the earth and now I know the reason and it’s pretty damn depressing.

 

Doughty narrates this audiobook and she does a fantastic job. She knows her material best, after all, and her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. She adds humor in all the right spots and it never feels forced. She has a strong grasp on the toll that being surrounded by death brings on those who deal with it day in and day out. She and her co-workers look at the world a little differently than most folks.  I guess it’s hard not to when you face down death and deal with the aftermath every day. Death happens to everyone sooner or later and there’s no point living your life fearful of it coming for you. And it is coming for you!

 

 “We are just future corpses.”

 

If you’re a morbid sort such as I, I highly recommend this book to you.