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Publisher's Summary

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty - a 20-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre - took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. With an original voice that combines fearless curiosity and mordant wit, Caitlin tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters, gallows humor, and vivid characters (both living and very dead). Describing how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes), and cared for bodies of all shapes and sizes, Caitlin becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the deceased. Her eye-opening memoir shows how our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead). In the spirit of her popular Web series, "Ask a Mortician", Caitlin’s engaging narrative style makes this otherwise scary topic both approachable and profound.
Caitlin Doughty, the host and creator of the "Ask a Mortician" Web series and the collective Order of the Good Death, is on a mission to change the way we think about death.
©2014 Caitlin Doughty (P)2014 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ren on 06-02-16

Ms. Frizzle Takes the School Bus to a Morgue

Would you listen to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes again? Why?

In the name of all things unholy and weird, yes! I listened to this book at work and found myself snorting with laughter at irreverent and socially unacceptable times. It is wonderfully informative, thought provoking and hilarious.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The dead. Doughty has a distinct and alarming ability to animate the dead in a way that demands that we respect them, but allows us to laugh with them at the absurdities of death and dying.

What does Caitlin Doughty bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Doughty's narration is a bit forced at first, but listening to her settle into the reading is kind of like watching a friend get over stage fright and slowly take command of the audience. As one would expect, Doughty brings a certain honesty to the more personal anecdotes in the book that I may not have appreciated as much without hearing them told by the author. The narrative does take on a slightly detached tone overall, which is what creates the dry humor, but it makes the personal moments of sadness a bit disarming. I'm sure that's the point, but I am glad that I got to hear them from Doughty herself. Her narration takes on a different cadence and a lower decibel when she recounts some episodes from her childhood that caused the images to stick in my memory of this book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I enjoyed looking forward to listening to a chapter or two a day. The pacing is steady and unhurried. The format is such that each chapter can almost stand alone so it does not lend itself to binge listening. This is a story you can enjoy in small chunks.

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29 of 30 people found this review helpful


By Karissa Hribko on 10-27-14

Really Great to Listen to.

Would you consider the audio edition of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes to be better than the print version?

I've never read the print version, but I really liked this as audio, it reminded me of listening to stories on NPR. I Listened to it everyday on my way to work, or when I was doing random stuff around the house. It was nice to be able to hear it and be transported away from the task at hand.

What does Caitlin Doughty bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It was nice to hear her read it. I'm an avid fan of Ask a Mortician, so it just made sense to not just read it myself but hear it from her point of view. It really sends home that this was her experience and just a random work of fiction.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I never wanted to get out of my car, I'd get to work and sit there until the very last second before I would become tardy.

Any additional comments?

This was my first purchase on Audible and it really turned me on to listening to audio books on my commute instead of random radio. Check out The Order of the Good Death too, all of Doughty's stuff is awesome!

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19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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