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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

by Caitlin Doughty

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4931256,024 (4.16)100
The blogger behind the popular Web series Ask a Mortician describes her experiences working at a crematory, including how she sometimes got ashes on her clothes and how she cared for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
  1. 20
    Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These engaging, unusual accounts deal with the human body after death. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes wittily relates the work of an assistant in a crematorium, while Stiff presents an entertaining account of what happens with cadavers.
  2. 10
    Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 10
    The Chick and the Dead: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors by Carla Valentine (fairyfeller)
    fairyfeller: Both memoirs about women working in the death industry.
  4. 00
    From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty (Elizabeth_Cooper)
    Elizabeth_Cooper: Very similar in style and topic, by the same author.
  5. 00
    Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty (Elizabeth_Cooper)
    Elizabeth_Cooper: Similar topic, by the same author. Great further reading.

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» See also 100 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is often thought-provoking and interesting, but it annoyed me at times. The author is judgmental about how other people choose to grieve the loss of their loved ones, and seems a bit full of herself throughout the book. ( )
  zeronetwo | May 14, 2024 |
A good, albeit morbid memoir of Doughy's early life in the mortuary business. Its a good mix of her experiences intercut with the history of the business. If you've every seen the Ask a Mortician channel on Youtube, you've seen the author. A good read if you're curious about the subject ( )
  mahsdad | Apr 3, 2024 |
The author does a great job reconstructing the world around her job as a cremation operator (something like that). And through this lens examines the commercial filters on the mainstream death industry.

Philosophical in a simple way. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
As a lover of Mary Roach’s books, I double-loved this book, which is written by an industry worker, not just an author doing research. An ultimately life-affirming piece of work. ( )
  mtreader | Dec 23, 2023 |
I've been familiar with Caitlin's work for years, first through her YouTube videos and more recently through her books. I read (and loved) FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and WILL MY CAT EAT MY EYEBALLS? but I hadn't gotten around to her debut--until now. I'm so glad I finally read this. Her openness in sharing her coming-of-age journey in such an unconventional setting is both courageous and inspiring.

Caitlin peels back the curtain on the death industry, revealing its often gritty, sometimes humorous, and always very human aspects. The dissection of societal attitudes towards death, coupled with personal anecdotes, made me reflect on my own perceptions and the collective discomfort our society harbors towards death and dying.

The book isn't just about Caitlin's experiences; it's a mirror reflecting our societal attitudes laced with humor and poignant observations. Caitlin’s passion for demystifying what happens to our physical bodies post-mortem is palpable throughout the book. Her fearless confrontation of a topic many shy away from is both admirable and thought-provoking.

Moreover, Caitlin's writing style is wonderful! The book is a harmonious blend of memoir, exposé of the funeral industry, and a manifesto advocating for an honest interaction with death. The well-researched content, coupled with humorous anecdotes, made the narrative lively and enriching.

This isn’t just another book; it’s an invitation to a conversation long overdue. ( )
  Elizabeth_Cooper | Oct 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caitlin Doughtyprimary authorall editionscalculated
High, David J.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, ClotildeTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nonhoff, SkyÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Speaker, Mary AustinDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my dearest friends
So supportive, so gracious
A morbid haiku.
First words
According to a journalist's eyewitness account, Mata Hari, the famous exotic dancer turned World War I spy, refused to wear a blindfold when she was executed by a French firing squad in 1917. (Author's Note)
A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves.
As much as we fancy ourselves open-minded, we are still imprisoned by our cultural beliefs.
As men we are equal in the presence of death. - Publilius Syrus
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The blogger behind the popular Web series Ask a Mortician describes her experiences working at a crematory, including how she sometimes got ashes on her clothes and how she cared for bodies of all shapes and sizes.

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Book description
Caitlin Doughty shares the life lessons she has learned from working as a licensed mortician.
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