In Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty brings to light the benefits and complications of working in death care. From exploring her own funeral arrangements to a no-holds-barred approach to discussing life after death with both clients and fellow crematory workers, Doughty offers insights into a relatively undocumented profession. Her unique first-person chronicle is a welcome addition to the discourse on how we manage death as a culture and how that impacts the choices we make about our remains as individuals.
Caitlin Doughty took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. In Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, she explores the full range of the funeral industry—from how it functions to how it’s imagined and spun. She reveals the bizarre and often hilarious perspectives of funeral workers, embalmers, corpse names, dead cops, and other practitioners of “death work.” She also explores everything we think we know about dead bodies—how they decompose, what happens to cremains after you spread them, why forensic anthropologists look for signs of cannibalism on human remains, and much more.
In Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty takes us into the world of death, where she learned firsthand the virtues of cremation and the menace of funeral directors. From dead bodies to staff parties, she gives a manic look at life working in the death trade—uncovering the misguided notions that kept her there and what it takes to finally escape.
About Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Book
Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-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. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.
Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?
Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).