Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematorium // Nicole’s Nook

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a bookworm. I enjoy an evening read to wind down at the end of a hectic day and a chapter in the morning, as the sun makes its way out of bed before I do. Therefore you can imagine the horror I experienced when I finished a book on Monday night and realised my 9-5pm internship would coincide with tomorrows library opening hours.

So, during my lunch break like the dedicated little thing I am, I went for a trundle down Rundle Mall and bought a cheap read from a bookshop. People-watching on public transport can only go so far and fortunately for me I can read in motion without feeling carsick (Trust me! I once finished a book during a 3-hour extremely windy car ride to the North of Bali and back).

I also enjoy delving into strange concepts and themes and what I found is nothing short of fascinating.

The title says it all really: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the CrematoriumCaitlin Doughty

Firstly, you do know you’re going to die right? Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not within the decade, but eventually. It’s a fact we often forget as we busy ourselves with our daily schedules. It’s a morbid thought and one usually reserved for poets, but get this; did you know the world loses two humans every second?

Caitlin Doughty came face-to-face with the American funeral industry as a naïve twenty three year old. From the get-go she threw herself into her dark new profession by shovelling ashes, transporting corpses and shaving the dead in an effort to prove herself worthy to her colleagues.

(BTW: 28 people just died while you read that)

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is a recount of her first six years working in the industry as she makes her way towards becoming a licensed mortician. Doughty discusses the very private life event that is death and endeavours to find out the stories of the loved ones and (sometimes) nobodies she pushes into the crematory, before their bodies are reduced to smoke and ash.

Doughty’s book is thought-provoking and hilariously honest, as she stares mortality in the (cloudy) eye and addresses why death is perceived as an indecent, repulsive final chapter of life that should only be witnessed by coroners, medical professionals and undertakers. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes will provide answers for questions you’ve been curious to know, but too polite to ask.

Thank you Ms Doughty, because before I started reading this book I had momentarily forgotten the only certain thing in our lives besides paying taxes is that we’re going to die one day. Hopefully I’m not going to pack up my things and walk through the gates of heaven (kidding, I’m going to hell) before completing my life’s goal of owning seven Golden Retrievers. What a goddamn injustice that would be!

If you are impartial to leaky body fluids, want to know what happens behind an undertaker’s closed doors and wish to be reminded of your mortality, then Smoke Gets In Your Eyes can be nabbed at Read e Book for $9.99.

Rating: 4 worms

Image courtesy of The Clothesline

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