From Here to Eternity
The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with “dignity.”Fascinated by our pervasive terror of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for their dead. In rural Indonesia, she observes a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body. Grandpa’s mummy has lived in the family home for two years, where the family has maintained a warm and respectful relationship. She meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and introduces us to a Japanese kotsuage, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With curiosity and morbid humor, Doughty encounters vividly decomposed bodies and participates in compelling, powerful death practices almost entirely unknown in America. Featuring Gorey-esque illustrations by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity introduces death-care innovators researching green burial and body composting, explores new spaces for mourning—including a glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan and America’s only open-air pyre—and reveals unexpected new possibilities for our own death rituals.

From Here to Eternity Details

TitleFrom Here to Eternity
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
ISBN-139780393249897
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Death, Science, Travel, History

From Here to Eternity Review

  • PorshaJo
    January 1, 1970
    OK, this might sound really weird....but I've been to a lot of funerals. And I mean a lot. As a very young girl, I used to go church on weekends with my grandparents, and they would always go to the funeral home after church. It was always the funeral home three day viewings followed by a church service and grave site service. Many, many years later a family member passed and was cremated. I thought it the oddest thing, completely unheard of. I had many long discussions with my husband about it OK, this might sound really weird....but I've been to a lot of funerals. And I mean a lot. As a very young girl, I used to go church on weekends with my grandparents, and they would always go to the funeral home after church. It was always the funeral home three day viewings followed by a church service and grave site service. Many, many years later a family member passed and was cremated. I thought it the oddest thing, completely unheard of. I had many long discussions with my husband about it as I was so confused. I didn't know there was anything different. This book was an eye opening experience to see different countries and cultures and their methods of burying the dead.I found it fascinating to learn of so many different methods from an open air funeral pyre, to cultures who keep a body in the house for 5, 10+ years mummifying the body, to Indonesia where they prop up their bodies, to Japan where they have very ultra-modern places to sit with the deceased and where relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved- ones’ bones from cremation ashes, to homes that store skulls, and many more. Finally, to the one I found most fascinating....the FOREST. The Forensic Osteology Research Station in North Carolina. Here, bodies are placed on the grounds of a research facility and 'composted' providing a green burial. The author is a mortician and is fascinated by how people fear dead bodies. She is also quite rough on the American funeral industry and doesn't hold back. It is a huge area that makes tons of money. Your basic American funeral can start at around $20K and go up substantially from there.I find it odd to say I 'enjoyed' reading this book, but I learned a lot about how many in the rest of the world view death and how they bury their dead. The book includes illustrations that show many of the rituals and images of Mexico's Dias de los Muertos. I have not read the authors first book but it is one I plan to pick up soon. I can't say this is for everyone. Some might find it quite macabre. I found it a bit educational and it's one that can lead to many in-depth discussions.
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  • Petra X
    January 1, 1970
    This is a brief tour of some of the world's strangest burial practices. In the epilogue, thanking people, Caitlin says, "Finally Landis Blair, who was an all-right boyfriend but is now a killer collaborator". And that feels like the key to this all-right, 3.5 star (at best) book.It feels like flushed with the deserved success of first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, the author had decided to have a dual career as of funeral home proprietor and writer and had This is a brief tour of some of the world's strangest burial practices. In the epilogue, thanking people, Caitlin says, "Finally Landis Blair, who was an all-right boyfriend but is now a killer collaborator". And that feels like the key to this all-right, 3.5 star (at best) book.It feels like flushed with the deserved success of first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, the author had decided to have a dual career as of funeral home proprietor and writer and had cast around for a subject to write about it. A tour of the world's more unusual funerary practices! It was so obvious.There was a New Age funeral pyre in Colorado, the scraped-clean and dressed dead of Sulawesi brought out for their annual, communal party. Then in Bolivia, skulls it seemed everyone had in their home that they and bring offerings to ask favours of (and get blessed by the local Catholic priest). In another country graves are only rented and then the remains turfed out if the family fail to pay. The most interesting was Tibet where the recently dead are chopped up and mixed with flour and butter and offered to birds of prey who having filled up on the corpses fly off, and so it is known, poetically, as 'sky burial'. I knew most of these funeral rituals so it wasn't that interesting. But one thing really caught my attention. We are schooled to think of Buddhism as some ideal spiritual philosophy, something peaceful that brings contentment, despite one of the world's most celebrated Buddhists and well known champions of human rights, Aung San Suu Kyi's support of the state persecution and violence directed at the Muslims in Myanmar.But is this not modern thinking? This is what the Buddha thought of women:"The ancient scriptures tell of the Buddha encouraging his community of male monks to take trips to the charnel grounds to meditate on women’s rotting bodies. The motive of these “meditations on foulness” was to liberate a monk from his desire for women; they were, as scholar Liz Wilson calls them, “sensual stumbling blocks.” The hope was that charnel meditation would strip women of all their desirable qualities so men would realize they are merely flesh-sacks filled with blood, guts, and phlegm. The Buddha was explicit, claiming that a woman’s deception is not in her accessories, like makeup and gowns, but in her fraudulent garment of flesh, surreptitiously oozing grotesque liquids from its orifices."That was enlightening. For that the author gets upped to 4 stars. It's a good book, very readable, the insights and descriptions are very much of the popular science genre, not too deep, not too challenging, a quick read and light non-fiction. It does make you realise that a funeral is for the benefit of the mourners and the funeral directors. You might want to consider a ritual that is personal for the family, and less the killingly expensive pressure that benefits the funeral directors.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent this book by the publisher after responding to an email sent to a librarian email list; they had extras leftover from ALA, and I was #ALAleftbehind, so I asked for a few from their list.I knew of Caitlin Doughty but never read her earlier book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, which talks about her experience running a crematory and funeral home. In this book, she visits several different places that deal with death differently, either from cultural diffe I was sent this book by the publisher after responding to an email sent to a librarian email list; they had extras leftover from ALA, and I was #ALAleftbehind, so I asked for a few from their list.I knew of Caitlin Doughty but never read her earlier book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, which talks about her experience running a crematory and funeral home. In this book, she visits several different places that deal with death differently, either from cultural differences or people thinking outside the mold. From going through my father's death this past year, I certainly was well acquainted with the incredible costs of a burial, and my Dad was fortunate enough to have a gravesite and gravestone provided by the government because of his status as a veteran. But I witnessed price gouging and how funeral homes take advantage of grieving families who feel trapped. It isn't pretty.I hadn't stopped to think of how it might be different other places, how the racket might be unique to our country or that other countries at the very least would have different rackets. Doughty explores some of the standard expectations of other places and I felt like I learned a lot, from the Japanese crematorium experience (where the family watches), to the corpses living with families on an island in Indonesia, to the idea that a burial plot is only as good as long as the body is decomposing in Spain (and not a permanent space as it is in the USA.) Doughty also tells the story of how the way a Mexican town honors their dead is healing to her friend who lost a baby.Such a minor part, but I found myself fascinated by the pages about whales... how their poop feeds an ecosystem, how their decomposing bodies sustain life for half a year! These are the things I brought up during dinner conversation. I was surprised too, but the way she has written some of the details proves hard to forget.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Caitlin Doughty has done it again: dragged us death-phobic Westerners into the light of what grieving and death could (and maybe should) look like. In From Here to Eternity, Caitlin travels the globe and shares her first-hand experiences of getting up close and personal with death rituals from around the world. I found each section absolutely captivating, and although the Tana Toraja bit did give me a nightmare last night (seriously), I'm going to blame that on the arms-length (or maybe football Caitlin Doughty has done it again: dragged us death-phobic Westerners into the light of what grieving and death could (and maybe should) look like. In From Here to Eternity, Caitlin travels the globe and shares her first-hand experiences of getting up close and personal with death rituals from around the world. I found each section absolutely captivating, and although the Tana Toraja bit did give me a nightmare last night (seriously), I'm going to blame that on the arms-length (or maybe football field) distance we Americans prefer to keep from death. I still don't know what I'd like to happen to my remains after I die, but thanks to Caitlin Doughty, I have hope that we as a culture can move towards a more open-minded, natural approach to death that allows different preferences and options to be acceptable and attainable for everyone.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely LOVED this. I cannot wait to pick up more of Doughty's work and to binge watch her YouTube channel "Ask a Mortician."In this book, Doughty outlines all of the fucked up ways in which the US death industry is fucked up. She looks at expenses, dignity, and the seeming moratorium on public grief here in the states.In contrast, Doughty takes the reader along with her as she travels the world learning about other cultures' death rituals and mourning practices. This could have very easily I absolutely LOVED this. I cannot wait to pick up more of Doughty's work and to binge watch her YouTube channel "Ask a Mortician."In this book, Doughty outlines all of the fucked up ways in which the US death industry is fucked up. She looks at expenses, dignity, and the seeming moratorium on public grief here in the states.In contrast, Doughty takes the reader along with her as she travels the world learning about other cultures' death rituals and mourning practices. This could have very easily devolved into some gross, appropriative, fetishization of how beautiful and spiritual non-Western cultural traditions are. I mean, a white lady visiting Buddhist monks and remote Indonesian villages? I was ready to say, "No thank you, macabre Eat Pray Love." But now I have to eat my words! Doughty looks at different cultural traditions without a tinge of fetishization, and with a whole lot of respect. It's WONDERFUL. It's educational, it highlights how awful the corporatization of death is, AND it touches on the impacts of colonialism. I mean... I just could not have been more wrong. And I'm so happy about it.Doughty's tone in this novel is great. She's informative, blunt, and funny. None of these seems in-line with how American's typically talk about death (which is pretty much the point of this book). She pulls back the curtain, gives you honesty and insight, and makes death a whole lot less scary.Can't recommend this book enough!!
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  • Ammar
    January 1, 1970
    fascinating book about the various cultures and how they interact with death, and the concept of the departed or loved one. were many non-western cultures perform more natural acts of burial, a non-industrial cremation. some use a pyre to lit a loved one, while others keep them mummified, and visit them often. The Japanese use chopsticks to pluck their loved one's bones from the ashes. Fascinating and written beautifully
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  • Ashley Brooks
    January 1, 1970
    4.5In her second book, Caitlin takes us around the world to take a look at how other cultures view and treat death. If you're already aware of how bizarre, detached and corporate-ified the US is about death, this will be a lovely trip through some truly beautiful rituals and cultures. If you aren't aware, well, this might be a bit jarring for you. Caitlin approaches the topic with respect and just the right amount of humor. I can't recommend her writing enough, and would definitely recommend her 4.5In her second book, Caitlin takes us around the world to take a look at how other cultures view and treat death. If you're already aware of how bizarre, detached and corporate-ified the US is about death, this will be a lovely trip through some truly beautiful rituals and cultures. If you aren't aware, well, this might be a bit jarring for you. Caitlin approaches the topic with respect and just the right amount of humor. I can't recommend her writing enough, and would definitely recommend her first book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory if you'd like to learn a bit more about the way our current death care system works. Also, moving to Colorado immediately because I WANT THE PYRE TREATMENT.Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me a copy for review.
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  • Sydney (Сидни)
    January 1, 1970
    This was quite interesting as it covers the more common features of how different cultures approach death. The Thai culture was probably the more interesting, as they follow the same ancient traditions as their ancestors.I would recommend this if you had a college class on philosophy or religion as a way to explore different peoples; or, if you have an interest in different cultures views on life and death.
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  • Ross Blocher
    January 1, 1970
    From Here to Eternity is the kind of exuberant, passionate non-fiction I live for. Caitlin Doughty has a deep fascination with death: she is a funeral director by trade and her knowledge, enthusiasm and good humor are clearly evident as she describes and de-stigmatizes cultural attitudes toward death around the world. Many of the stories revolve around her own travels to various parts of the world to witness ceremonies, crypts, crematoria, and columbaria (places where cremated remains are kept). From Here to Eternity is the kind of exuberant, passionate non-fiction I live for. Caitlin Doughty has a deep fascination with death: she is a funeral director by trade and her knowledge, enthusiasm and good humor are clearly evident as she describes and de-stigmatizes cultural attitudes toward death around the world. Many of the stories revolve around her own travels to various parts of the world to witness ceremonies, crypts, crematoria, and columbaria (places where cremated remains are kept). In Colorado, one group has fought legal battles and intense suspicion to offer outdoor cremation. In Indonesia, families co-habitate with the bodies of their loved ones for many years: talking to them, applying preservatives, and bringing them out each year to walk the streets. In North Carolina, forensics facilities allow experimentation with human composting. In Japan, you might be given a pair of chopsticks to retrieve your loved one's bones following cremation, and a modern facility lets you hold up a keycard to trigger a colorful light display identifying their remains in one Buddha-shaped urn amongst hundreds. In Bolivia, some steal skulls from graves and keep them around to share advice and answer prayers. In Joshua Tree, California, a pilot program lets you be buried, sans embalming fluids, in a simple cloth four feet below the ground. In the mountains of Tibet, bodies are chopped up and fed to vultures: one of the faster returns to nature one might imagine (if one imagined such things). The book has wonderful illustrations by Landis Blair, which perform a crucial role: they let you visualize what is being described without the "yick" factor some might experience seeing photos. I, of course, did plenty of Google surfing to find the photos.Along the way, Doughty shares numerous fun facts and thought-provoking commentary on our relationship to death. In the US, death has become a lucrative business, and bodies are whisked away and kept hidden, and there are only two options offered: embalming/burial or cremation. She advocates for a more diverse, nuanced approach to death that honors the dead in the way they have chosen and that allows family time and space to process the loss, and also for death not to worsen our ecological crises. At the same time, this can be accomplished without compromising the health or safety of the living.I found myself jealous of many of the practices described here, and thinking about my own choices for my body after I die. I am an organ donor, and want any useful organs to go to people who need them. I'd love to donate my body to medical students or scientific study (my wife is against this, and she and I have had great conversations after reading this book together). In the end, I don't want to be embalmed, and would even prefer not to be burned - I'd love for my body to be returned back to the earth in the least invasive, time-consuming way, so my nutrients can go back into creating new forms of life. I'm hoping, by the time it comes to that, there will be more options available. If so, it will be thanks to efforts like this book, which I highly recommend.
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  • Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't enjoy this quite as much as Doughty's previous book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, but some parts were really interesting (Himalayan vultures with nine-foot wing spans) and others quite moving (people grieving their dead children).
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  • jo
    January 1, 1970
    Η Caitlin Doughty είναι ιδιοκτήτρια ενός εναλλακτικού γραφείου τελετών και γνωστή Youtuber. Το κανάλι της στο Youtube ονομάζεται “Ask a mortician” και ανεβάζει εβδομαδιαία βίντεο. Το «From here to eternity» είναι το δεύτερο βιβλίο της, το πρώτο ήταν το «Smoke gets in your eyes», και σε αυτό το non-fiction βιβλίο της αφήνει πίσω την αυτοβιογραφική της διάθεση για μια πιο αποστασιοποιημένη αφήγηση.Η Doughty αποφάσισε να ταξιδέψει σε διάφορες χώρες με σκοπό να γνωρίσει από κοντά τους διάφορους τρόπ Η Caitlin Doughty είναι ιδιοκτήτρια ενός εναλλακτικού γραφείου τελετών και γνωστή Youtuber. Το κανάλι της στο Youtube ονομάζεται “Ask a mortician” και ανεβάζει εβδομαδιαία βίντεο. Το «From here to eternity» είναι το δεύτερο βιβλίο της, το πρώτο ήταν το «Smoke gets in your eyes», και σε αυτό το non-fiction βιβλίο της αφήνει πίσω την αυτοβιογραφική της διάθεση για μια πιο αποστασιοποιημένη αφήγηση.Η Doughty αποφάσισε να ταξιδέψει σε διάφορες χώρες με σκοπό να γνωρίσει από κοντά τους διάφορους τρόπους με τους οποίους οι άνθρωποι διαχειρίζονται τους νεκρούς τους και τον θάνατο γενικά. Σίγουρα το κείμενο δεν είναι για τους λιγόψυχους αναγνώστες. Εκτός από το ότι αναφέρεται στον θάνατο – ένα θέμα που προκαλεί κρίσεις πανικού σε αρκετούς – η συγγραφέας συχνά μπαίνει σε αηδιαστικές λεπτομέρειες. Δυσκολεύτηκα στην αρχή αλλά μετά από ένα-δύο κεφάλαια βυθίστηκα στην ανάγνωση και το βιβλίο τελείωσε προτού το καταλάβω. Μου άρεσε πολύ που ταξίδεψα σε διαφορετικές χώρες και έμαθα τόσα για την κουλτούρα του κάθε λαού, επίσης με έσπρωξε να αποδεχτώ ότι αυτά που βρίσκω εγω αηδιαστικά άλλοι λαοί τα αποδέχονται σαν το πιο φυσιολογικό πράγμα.Αναγνωρίζω πως δύσκολα θα καταλάβει κανείς γιατί μου αρέσουν τέτοιου είδους βιβλία. Δεν είμαι από τους ανθρώπους που θεωρούν τον θάνατο και την φυσική του εικόνα κάτι ενδιαφέρον, ούτε είμαι αναισθητοποιημένη στις σκληρές εικόνες. Θεωρώ όμως ότι διαβάζοντας τέτοια κείμενα ανακαλύπτω όλο και περισσότερα για τον εαυτό μου και νιώθω πως με βοηθάνε να αποδεχτώ την δική μου θνησιμότητα.Η γραφή της δεν είναι τίποτα το σπουδαίο αλλά καταφέρνει να σε κρατήσει και αισθάνεσαι μέρος μιας φιλικής αφήγησης ενός ταξιδιού. Συμπαθώ πολύ την συγγραφέα και για αυτό το αγόρασα σε Kindle, και θα αγοράσω και ότι άλλο εκδώσει!
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  • Monika
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't think that it was possible, but I loved this even more than Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. I like to pretend that I'm not, but I am an extremely squeamish person. Despite that, Doughty had me hooked on page one. From Here to Eternity is entertaining, surprisingly heart warming, and very eye-opening.Special thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. This book will be out October 3, and I highly recommend grabbing a copy.
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  • fortuna.spinning
    January 1, 1970
    This didn’t blow me away like her first book, but it was still a pretty fascinating read. The cool illustrations added a lot, and were, I would imagine, more pleasant than actual photos would have been. The writing was a little flat and research paper-ish, though. I really wanted more of Doughty’s wacky personality.
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  • Victoria ♡
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so interesting! It really got me thinking tbh. Recommend Caitlin's books to everyone they're so good!!
  • Sonja Arlow
    January 1, 1970
    3 starsI absolutely LOVED Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory. It was a quirky memoir of an inexperienced cremation assistant finding her feet in a macabre and sometimes quite depressing industry.But Caitlin has grown up, the funeral business is no longer just funny anecdotes but an industry that sometimes hurt the grieving more than help by making the final goodbye so absurdly clinical that it loses its humanity.This book follows Caitlin around the world exploring dif 3 ½ starsI absolutely LOVED Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory. It was a quirky memoir of an inexperienced cremation assistant finding her feet in a macabre and sometimes quite depressing industry.But Caitlin has grown up, the funeral business is no longer just funny anecdotes but an industry that sometimes hurt the grieving more than help by making the final goodbye so absurdly clinical that it loses its humanity.This book follows Caitlin around the world exploring different ways in which cultures revere, fear, celebrate and even at times resurrect the dead. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Mexico and their festival of the dead, the FOREST project and grave renting.Sky burial featured in book 1 and this one explores the concept further. I am open to other possibilities for burial but still balk a little at the thought of this one.Caitlin REALLY lays into the Western funeral industry and yes, she has valid points however not everyone wants a bohemian funeral pyre in the forest for grandma.I think what she is trying to convey is that in death, as in life there should not be a one sizes fits all.This book didn’t flow for me as well as the first one, but I have rounded up my rating to 4 stars as I think it’s a great book even if it’s just for the discussions it will spark.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    This was not what I was expecting, which was a SGIYE part two. This is very much an informational nonfiction rather than a memoir, though there are memoir-esque elements about the companions Caitlin travelled with. This is a great overview of death rituals around the world, but not an in depth resource for death geeks. My favorite chapter was about Japan, as there were more details that helped me understand their rituals and culture. I wish Caitlin had been more present in the text as she was in This was not what I was expecting, which was a SGIYE part two. This is very much an informational nonfiction rather than a memoir, though there are memoir-esque elements about the companions Caitlin travelled with. This is a great overview of death rituals around the world, but not an in depth resource for death geeks. My favorite chapter was about Japan, as there were more details that helped me understand their rituals and culture. I wish Caitlin had been more present in the text as she was in SGIYE. I would still recommend this though and read anything else she publishes.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    This author is so awesome. I want to go to her funeral facility when I pass. More to come.
  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    My anticipated reaction: My actual reaction: This isn't bad, not by a longshot. It's also not the stunning masterpiece I'd lead myself to believe it would be. A lot of that is my fault because I've stalked Caitlin Doughty for about 4 or 5 years now and am up to date on all her YouTube videos. I often read articles about her or by her or those written for Order of the Good Death so not a lot of this information was new to me. While I expected such to be the case, I also expected to get a more in- My anticipated reaction: My actual reaction: This isn't bad, not by a longshot. It's also not the stunning masterpiece I'd lead myself to believe it would be. A lot of that is my fault because I've stalked Caitlin Doughty for about 4 or 5 years now and am up to date on all her YouTube videos. I often read articles about her or by her or those written for Order of the Good Death so not a lot of this information was new to me. While I expected such to be the case, I also expected to get a more in-depth anthropological/sociological analysis of the death rituals explored in each chapter and that is the source of my lackluster response. These read like interesting blog posts and I wanted more. MORE!Also, the book is illustrated nicely but I wanted photographs or, in a perfect book, a mix of photographs and illustrations. That disappointment is solely on me and, yes, I did do a lot of Googling, as you're about to find out.There are eight chapters in this book, each a compilation of Caitlin's (we're not friends but I'm calling her by her first name anyway. I'm older than she is and in some societies, that totally gives me the right to not be formal) experiences with community traditions surrounding death. I felt it was a little odd so much of this centers on American experiences - 3/8 chapters take place in the ol' US of A. I guess that could go to show that we're not as death squeamish as we think and that there is hope for progress among the pearl-clutchers but I wanted more glimpses of what other cultures do with their dead because I already live here and know what we do with corpses.She starts out in Colorado (Represent!) and I'm going to go ahead and talk about what I thought of each chapter but I'll put it all under a spoiler tag in case you want to be surprised in regard to the places she travels and the things she sees!(view spoiler)[Colorado: CrestoneCaitlin comes to Colorado! As I noted in my while-I'm-reading-this update, I was sure she'd come here for Frozen Dead Guy Days or the coffin races in Manitou. I was wrong! She came for the Crestone Funeral Pyre which I had never heard of and was excited to learn about. After I read this chapter, I called up (texted) my BFF, T, and was all, "Hey. We need to buy some land and start up a burning business." She was like, "LOLWUT?" And I was, "You know how we're always talking about sumping the bodies? Well, now we can burn them. We can rent out a funeral pyre and hold funerals! It will be just like a wedding venue only, you know, with death and fire!" I waited awhile to hear back and then finally got, "Ok, there's available land in..." and this is why we are soulmates for life. Indonesia: South SulawesiFirst, she and her death buddy went to see the Londa Burial Caves where she is supposedly Instagramed by strangers (I did a quick sweep of Instagram and found nothing, but Instagram could have been used as a name for any general social media site or I just didn't dig deeply enough) and I was completely fascinated by this. However, too quickly, she moved to the next place and topic, the Tana Toraja death rituals which I'd known about, to an extent. I love that the families hang out with their dead, put their dead in little houses and then bring them out to change their clothes and catch them up on all the gossip but now I worry they’re going to run out of buffalo. How do you make enough water buffalo for this event? I would have liked this chapter fleshed out (ha!) a little more. Like, how are the Londo Caves related to the people who get to come out and be cleaned up on visitation day? Who gets the wood carvings and when? How does this all work?I felt this was the weakest chapter with the least amount of solid explanation and observation which is a shame because it seems like such an affirming and happy place to embrace death.Mexico: MichoacánIt's Days of the Dead in Mexico! Caitlin runs down to Michoacán to see what they've got going on for their Dias de los Muertos.Let me tell you about my experience with Day of the Dead. There's a pretty solid Hispanic and Latino population around here so I'd heard of Day of the Dead but it wasn't taught in school when I was a kid and I didn't know anything about it. When I was in my 20's, though, my boyfriend at the time moved down to Taos and since it was just 4 hours away, I'd visit every other weekend. I went down one Halloween and went home two days later, in the dark, and noticed the cemeteries were glowing. Actually, they were full of live people and candles with farolitos and luminarias everywhere. When I got home, I called back down to ask just what in the world was going on and the boyfriend told me he'd find out. When he got back to me, he said it was the Day of the Dead celebration. When I went down again two weekends later, his delightful neighbors (whom I still miss), told me all about it and invited me to attend with them the following year. And when the following year rolled around, they remembered the invitation and extended it again, telling me I could meet grandma! It was a hard sell but because I am the whitest white girl, I figured I really wasn't supposed to go visit the grandmother I'd never met in the cemetery I'd only ever seen from the road so I demurred as gracefully as possible but I still feel honored that they wanted me to come with them to celebrate with their family in the graveyard. And even though we can't do the marigolds up here, due to them all being long dead by the time Nov. 1 and 2 roll around, the graves are still lovely to see, all brimming with light and food and living people.Caitlin's Day of the Dead experience was much different. First, she got to go to the traditional Dias de los Muertos parade in Mexico City! In its inaugural year, no less!And you're all like, "Erica, you can't have a tradition that is inagurual."I'm here to tell you that yes, you absolutely can because traditions have to start somewhere. In this case, the parade started because of the James Bond movie, "Spectre."In the opening scene of the film, Bond glides through the melee in a skeleton mask and a tux and slips into a hotel with a masked woman. Except, here's the trick. The Dias de los Muertos parade did not inspire the James Bond film. The James Bond film inspired the parade. The Mexican government, afraid that people around the world would see the film and expect that the parade exists when it did not, recruited 1,200 volunteers and spent a year re-creating a four-hour pageant.And I thought Coca-Cola had a large global impact. So, anyway, the next day, Caitlin and her friend/associate, Sarah, go to Michoacán. Sarah is important because she's of Mexican descent but was not given her heritage. After she lost her baby, she had a hard time finding ways to express her grief in a culturally appropriate manner, appropriate to death-shunning Americans, I mean. It was through Frida Kahlo she learned about the betrayals of a woman's body and the unashamed acknowledgement of bereavement. That took her to Mexico to experience Day of the Dead with people who did not shy away from death, where she could express her agony and it was recognized and accepted. So, of course, she took Caitlin on her next trip so that they could see the mummies and angelitos, could visit an effigy of Father Cornelio, and take part in an actual Dias de los Muertos festival and the following walk to the cemetery.This is probably the most personal chapter in the book. It's touching, sad, and also hopeful and I appreciated Caitlin's friend, Sarah, giving Caitlin, and therefore her readers, the gift of her story and journey.On a related note, If you’re interested in Day of the Dead and haven’t seen Coco, do yourself a favor and view it ASAP.North Carolina: CullowheeMy mom, when she was dying, to concerned parties: "Don't be sad. I'm going to a better place."Us, her family: *rolling eyes, shaking heads*Concerned parties: *hands on hearts, tears in eyes* "Yes. To heaven. You'll be with God, blah blah blah."Mom: "No. I'm going to Grand Junction." *endless cackling even though she's told this joke a thousand times by this point*Concerned parties: *confusion or, at least, polite bemusement*Us, her family: "She's going to a body farm in Grand Junction after she dies."Concerned parties: *blanch and flee*Guess where Caitlin is today, kids?A body farm! And not just any body farm! This one is helping Katrina Spade with her Urban Death Project. It's here she's trying to figure out the magical soil mixture to quickly and efficiently compost human bodies! This is something I'd found out about through Caitlin and have been watching ever since because I would freaking LOVE to be compost and then go into a garden or a park! That would be absolutely perfect for me! So I'm hoping this is a thing by the time I die, but after reading this chapter, I realize I need to hold off on dying for awhile because while it's possible to compost big animals at a rapid rate, there's a lot of wasteful stuff that goes into that and this project is all about being eco-friendly, sooo...there's still more experimentation to go. But I'm on board!Oh, and also? This chapter will teach you all about the magical whale fall. It's pretty amazing stuff.Spain: BarcelonaOh! A critical piece!Caitlin journeys to Spain to conduct interviews with the National Press regarding Spain’s treatment of death. It seems they like to put death on display, complete with glass barrier keeping the living from the deceased.Though Caitlin was asking critical questions of Spain's funeral industry, Altima Funeral Home, Google-headquarters-meets-Church-of-Scientology...minimalist, hypermodern, projecting the potential for cultlike activity agreed to give her a tour of their sleek facilities. She learned that families can choose sepultura or incinerar for their dead and because of Catholicism not having the most positive views on cremation, many still choose sepultura except in Seville where there is no room, no room! so the government subsidizes cremation for its citizens. Also, there’s not a lot of embalming going on because Spain is pretty quick to dispose of its no-longer-living. Like many European countries, graves in Spain are often recycled, the bony inhabitants exhumed and given eternal rest in communal bone pits. I assume some families have mausoleums for their bones, but that’s just a leap I’m making on my own. Caitlin gets to see a cremation and she continues to be puzzled by the glass that offers both transparency and a barrier to death.You can probably tell I wasn’t as interested while reading this. It seemed pretty cut and dry, like something that would happen here, Stateside, except for the grave exhumations but that’s something I’d already encountered sooo… moving on.Japan: TokyoNO! She did not go to visit Aokigahara, though she did just talk about Aokigahara in a recent video.Caitlin went to Japan for other death reasons:But before you learn about those, you’ll learn about Hachiko, a story you’ve probably already heard, and the death of Sony’s robo-dogs. (Happier follow-up story can be found here)So the first reason was to see Koukokuji Buddhist Temple and Yajima jushoku’s technological upgrade to the old columbarium, which you may have heard about when it took over the news a few years back, and now I want to go there and see it! It sounds amazing.The second reason was to learn more about the family’s role in cremation ceremonies. Unlike Spain, Japan has the highest cremation rate in the world but they don’t get a bunch of ashes in a bag like we do. Instead, after the incineration is complete, the family stands around the ash tray (because that’s kind of literally what it is, though I doubt that’s what it’s called) to pick out the leftover bones with chopsticks. They put the bones in an urn and take the turn home. The custom is called kotsuage and it sounds like an awfully nice way to continue to care for your loved one after death.Then Caitlin finds the hotel of her dreams. It’s a corpse hotel. It’s pretty freaking awesome and I’m not sure why this isn’t a thing in all first-world countries that haven’t figured out a good way for people to deal with death.She also visits the super high-tech Daitokuin Ryogoku Ryoen, a multisensory temple and graveyard.Seriously, this chapter is worth the price of the book. It’s illuminating!Bolivia: La PazCaitlin’s traveling the world with her friend, Paul, again! This time, they go to Bolivia to meet skulls. It’s the kind of anthropological tale I’ve been waiting for!I was a tad bitter that there was no photo of Sandra, the fancy natita who had her picture taken that day. There's only a very nice illustration.Don't worry, I found her on Instagram. That may even be Caitlin holding her, since she was charged with hanging out with Sandra while Sandra's...landlady? Roommate? Minion? Caretaker? The person with whom Sandra lives and upon whom Sandra grants favors - found her something nice to wear for the picture.While I don’t have much to say about this chapter, it was my favorite.California: Joshua TreeCaitlin talks a little about her job at her funeral home, Undertaking LA which segues into a discussion on natural burials, specifically those in Joshua Tree Memorial Park.Afterward, she discusses her preferred mode of corpse management, the one she’d most like to have if only it were an option. But it’s not for two reasons. 1) It’s not something we do in America and, 2) read the book and find out for yourself.I liked this chapter because she brings death back around to a personal level. We’ve seen what other cultures do and now we need to think about how we want to approach our own deaths and care for the deceased that start showing up in everyone’s lives eventually. (hide spoiler)]So that's the book. And I liked it, obviously. I just didn't love it like I'd wanted.Side note: I am interested to find out the title of her next book. She's covered a song lyric, a movie title...what's next? A dance move? Only time will tell.
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  • TheYALibrarian
    January 1, 1970
    Rating 5 StarsI really can't find any reason to complain about Caitlin Doughty and her grim but amusing books on her experiences with death. Especially as she walks hand in hand with the reaper on a daily basis as a mortician; a job I could never do myself but have always been curious about.This book however is more on the customs and traditions of families all over the world when it is time for someone to leave their mortal coil behind. For what I have read from what Caitlin has experienced, th Rating 5 StarsI really can't find any reason to complain about Caitlin Doughty and her grim but amusing books on her experiences with death. Especially as she walks hand in hand with the reaper on a daily basis as a mortician; a job I could never do myself but have always been curious about.This book however is more on the customs and traditions of families all over the world when it is time for someone to leave their mortal coil behind. For what I have read from what Caitlin has experienced, there are countless ways to go about this whether they be obscene or wonderful is up to ones own opinion. Mine is much more on the fascinated side of things rather than horrified at the fact that some people keep their mummified grandfather in their house years after they pass and even go as far to sleep in the same bed as them. It puts a different perspective in the western customs I have grown up on and have experienced way too many times.Speaking of Western customs, after reading this I really hate them and I'm really upset that its the only choice I will have really when I go. It feels so cold and closed minded to just immediately stick your your dad into a funeral home to be put on a slab to be all made up for a wake viewing that and then soon after be cremated or buried. It all so rushed but its what we are used to and never really think anything is wrong about it. But now I can't help but feeling so, especially when looking at traditions such as Dios Los Muertos. I was familiar with this celebration before reading this book but I never realized how amazing it seems. It is a day of celebrating and remembering your loved ones. To respect them by hanging out at their grave all day, giving offerings and decorating with candles and marigold petals. It makes it feel so cold and upsetting to know that I'm just going to end up six feet under and my body will be left there alone to decay until one of my family member's come to visit. But when they do visit it it will be brief and I will be left there alone once again. Being cremated into an urn doesn't seem much different either and I especially don't want to that out of fear that once my close family passes and everything changes that my urn will just end up lost somewhere so I guess it would be better to have my urn interred in a crypt somewhere but there will still be the problem of no celebrations, no joy and no spending time with the dead. I know this is pretty morbid to really ponder but I have always had a morbid side and Caitlin also pointed out how horrible the western systems is too.Anyway back to the book. I enjoyed all the stories and all the adventures Caitlin got to experience. I had some favorites but for some reason I'm blanking on them right now so I will have to go back to the audio or book to jog my memory so review to be continued and while I'm at it I think I'll start planning all my funeral arrangements so I can make this nightmare of western views and traditions happen as little as possible to me when my time is up.
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  • Karyl
    January 1, 1970
    This is an absolute must-read. Here in America, we are so separated from death. It is something to be feared, kept away from, hidden behind expensive caskets and embalming and services in a "multisensory experience room" (p. 234). Our dead are basically ripped from us, held in morgues and funeral homes, with little transition from the state of living to being buried in a cemetery or being resigned to the flames during cremation. Doughty's point during this book isn't a tour of the world's strang This is an absolute must-read. Here in America, we are so separated from death. It is something to be feared, kept away from, hidden behind expensive caskets and embalming and services in a "multisensory experience room" (p. 234). Our dead are basically ripped from us, held in morgues and funeral homes, with little transition from the state of living to being buried in a cemetery or being resigned to the flames during cremation. Doughty's point during this book isn't a tour of the world's strangest burial habits (and if this is what you take away from it, you've totally missed the point). Instead, it's to show how other cultures who are more in tune with death and how to process it and grieve can be seen as having a healthier relationship with death than we do in the western world. In Japan, the families are given special chopsticks with which to gather the bones of their loved ones after cremation. In Bolivia, certain skulls becomeñatitas, a liaison between living and the dead. In Indonesia, bodies are kept at home until they have their funerals (which can be years away), and then in certain rituals, the mummified bodies are taken out and cleaned, and the families spend time with them as they would any other family member. These practices might seem barbaric to us, but then it's just a different way of dealing with the dead. It may behoove us to be more connected to our dead to allow us to grieve in a more healthy way. We've lost our intimacy with death, even though one day we will all pass away, and now it's an expensive proposition to die in America. Doughty wants us to think about how we can begin to fix the extortionist death industry in America, and perhaps open our eyes to other methods that may be cheaper and better for us emotionally. Read this book with an open mind, and I can almost guarantee that you may change your mind about the way the death industry works in America.
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  • Rebecca Renner
    January 1, 1970
    Few life events affect us more than the death of a loved one. At times, it can seem that grief is monolithic, but not every culture deals with death and grief in the same way. The death culture of the US endeavors to paint a pleasing facade over what we consider macabre. Embalmers camouflage the reality of the grave with chemicals and adornments. Cemeteries wall off the dead behind stone, concrete, and coffin wood. In her nonfiction book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the G Few life events affect us more than the death of a loved one. At times, it can seem that grief is monolithic, but not every culture deals with death and grief in the same way. The death culture of the US endeavors to paint a pleasing facade over what we consider macabre. Embalmers camouflage the reality of the grave with chemicals and adornments. Cemeteries wall off the dead behind stone, concrete, and coffin wood. In her nonfiction book From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death , Caitlin Doughty delves into death cultures around the globe, thus casting a stark contrast between our national death avoidance and cultures that literally take death into their arms.On her binge of thanotourism, Doughty investigated cultures in Belize, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, Spain, and Bolivia in addition to small enclaves within the United States. She found two striking commonalities between cultures that don’t deny or try to hide the inevitability of death, in other words, “death positive” cultures. The first is that these cultures live closely with the dead and are not afraid to touch their bodies or their relics. For example, the people of Tana Toraja, Indonesia celebrate ma’nene , during which they exhume the bodies of their loved ones to clean and commune with the mummies. In Bolivia, many households keep ñatitas , skulls of the dead believed to possess a sacred link with the divine. The second commonality is that, in death positive cultures, the living feel a sense of purpose in caring for the dead. In Mexico, during the famous Dia de los Muertos, families bring offerings to the graves of their loved ones to share a night with their returned spirits. Even in Japan, custom dictates that family members pick through the deceased’s ashes with chopsticks and deposit their bones into an urn.Doughty brings the life of these cultures to the page with vivid details, some of which aren’t for the faint of heart. However, Doughty’s appealing, insightful, often sarcastic voice makes this morbid topic approachable. This clear writing prowess in combination with her experience as a Los Angeles mortician allow Doughty to make effective contrasts between American death culture and what she believes are healthier attitudes towards death. “In my practice as a mortician,” says Doughty, “I’ve found that both cleaning the body and spending time with it serves a powerful role in processing grief. It helps mourners see the corpse not as a cursed object, but as a beautiful vessel that once held their loved one.”Despite her Anthony-Bordainesque adventures, Doughty’s message is clear: she wants her American readers to reassess not only how they view death but how they perform grief. She wants Americans to turn away from “business models, upselling families on mahogany caskets and marble headstones” but saving the talk of death until the last minute to a culture that speaks openly about death and honors our dead and our environment instead of building walls to protect ourselves from reality.NOTE: I received a digital arc of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Want to read more of my reviews? Stay in touch by: Following me on social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads. Following this blog. 🙂 Signing up for my mailing list here. Before you try to pitch me your own book, please note that I am closed to book review requests at this time. However, you can read my review policy for when I open them back up again.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    From Here to Eternity asks us to confront our bias against other cultures’ “savage” death rituals and see how they might be healthier than the usual Western approach of denying/hiding death. Many rituals Doughty observes are about maintaining a personal connection to the dead. In South Sulawesi, Indonesia, corpses remain with their families for months or years, preserved as mummies. Other destinations include a North Carolina body farm that is attempting to compost corpses and a Japanese columba From Here to Eternity asks us to confront our bias against other cultures’ “savage” death rituals and see how they might be healthier than the usual Western approach of denying/hiding death. Many rituals Doughty observes are about maintaining a personal connection to the dead. In South Sulawesi, Indonesia, corpses remain with their families for months or years, preserved as mummies. Other destinations include a North Carolina body farm that is attempting to compost corpses and a Japanese columbarium where you find your loved one’s remains using a smart card. A chapter set in Spain was the odd one out for me; it struck me as incomplete and not adding anything to the whole. Despite the book’s jokey asides and deliciously ghoulish black-and-white illustrations (by Landis Blair), Doughty is completely serious in her critique of standard Western attitudes toward death. Some may think a book like this would be too morbid for their tastes, but I can assure you Doughty is a charming and reassuring guide through the underworld. This certainly isn’t your average travel book, but it’s all the better for that.See my full review at Shiny New Books.
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  • Erin Duerr
    January 1, 1970
    If Jessica Mitford's "Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain" frightened us into facing the reality of dying in America, Caitlin Doughty's writing is like being hugged and told everything is going to be okay. Once again Doughty guides us along an entertaining, informative and empathetic journey through death culture and this time we get to travel the world as we do it. Just like her first book, this is a title I want to hand to people and say, "Read it and then let's talk."
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    4/5Solidly written, intelligent, witty, insightful, and unexpectedly heartfelt. I love Caitlin's YouTube series, Ask a Mortician, and equally loved her first book and memoir, The Smoke Gets in your Eyes. Although this book was less autobiography and more historical and informational, I did definitely enjoy it. Plus, the illustrations were haunting and gorgeous.
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  • Mainlinebooker
    January 1, 1970
    Calling all fans of cultural anthropology for this dive into how different cultures approach death and funereal rights is eye opening and fascinating. I never know how other people will react to this subject but I found her former book, Smoke gets in your Eyes, which talked about the cremation process utterly engrossing. This book is no exception. She takes us on a world tour of different practices through her easy conversational style,humor ,and her dedicated belief in accepting different cultu Calling all fans of cultural anthropology for this dive into how different cultures approach death and funereal rights is eye opening and fascinating. I never know how other people will react to this subject but I found her former book, Smoke gets in your Eyes, which talked about the cremation process utterly engrossing. This book is no exception. She takes us on a world tour of different practices through her easy conversational style,humor ,and her dedicated belief in accepting different cultural norms. Having observed first hand funerals in Bali and Sulawesi, her comments were right on. I also work with hospice and found many of her comments so applicable to dealing with the death and dying. I really invite anyone to be open to the wondrous messages she shares about our final stage of life.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this book gave me some good ideas for conversation starters! Doughty's last book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, was a "pull the curtains back" on the funerary industry piece, and I enjoyed that one immensely. This book follows a different logic altogether, instead of Doughty sharing information about her field, she is now learning right along with us as she travels to a few locations [Indonesia, Bolivia, Spain, Mexico, various locations in the US) and lea Reading this book gave me some good ideas for conversation starters! Doughty's last book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, was a "pull the curtains back" on the funerary industry piece, and I enjoyed that one immensely. This book follows a different logic altogether, instead of Doughty sharing information about her field, she is now learning right along with us as she travels to a few locations [Indonesia, Bolivia, Spain, Mexico, various locations in the US) and learns more about their rituals around death, burial practices, etc.3.5/5
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  • Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
    January 1, 1970
    *My 5th book for the 2018 PopSugar Challenge -#17. given to me as a gift.* This book was special and eye-opening. I was introduced to new cultures and new customs regarding death, a topic in which I've always been interested. This book made me rethink everything I thought I knew about death culture and options after passing. It helps the reader take comfort and to see death as a beautiful, natural next step, rather than something to be ignored and feared. I hope this book and Doughty are able to *My 5th book for the 2018 PopSugar Challenge -#17. given to me as a gift.* This book was special and eye-opening. I was introduced to new cultures and new customs regarding death, a topic in which I've always been interested. This book made me rethink everything I thought I knew about death culture and options after passing. It helps the reader take comfort and to see death as a beautiful, natural next step, rather than something to be ignored and feared. I hope this book and Doughty are able to spark a change in America's for-profit, sterilized, death industry and give more control to people, rather than the government and corporations. I also really wanna go get a drink with Doughty. Her humor, passion, and knowledge shine through in her writing. I highly recommend this book.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I was actually surprised I would Love this book as much has I did! From the first page I was engrossed! It had me like Do people really do these things with their deceased loved ones? It gave me a more cultural perspective on death and how far people will go to persevere that life. I finished this pretty quickly mainly bc I couldn't put it down. When i wasn't reading it I was thinking about it. Haha. I highly recommend this book!!
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  • Melora
    January 1, 1970
    Some interesting stuff here, and Doughty is a convivial guide through the world of funeral practices. A forward thinking sort of mortician, Caitlin Doughty decides to see how death rituals are practiced in various cultures, both in the U.S. and around the world. With chapters on open-air pyre cremation (Crestone, Colorado); the Ma'Nene ritual, in which dead relatives are taken out for yearly family reunions (the Toraja people, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia); Dias de los Muertos (Mexico); a human Some interesting stuff here, and Doughty is a convivial guide through the world of funeral practices. A forward thinking sort of mortician, Caitlin Doughty decides to see how death rituals are practiced in various cultures, both in the U.S. and around the world. With chapters on open-air pyre cremation (Crestone, Colorado); the Ma'Nene ritual, in which dead relatives are taken out for yearly family reunions (the Toraja people, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia); Dias de los Muertos (Mexico); a human composting project (the body farm at Cullowhee, North Carolina), etc., Doughty explores a fine range of practices.I enjoyed most of the book, though the author's efforts at comedy sometimes become wearisome (I got the impression that she is rather accustomed to getting away with fairly crass humor through her “adorable, quirky girl mortician” shtick). She makes a lot of solid points about shortcomings in the American system for handling dead bodies, and illustrates the benefits of practices which, though sometimes startling, offer comfort to bereaved families and friends which our sterile, “efficient” methods may fail to provide. For me, the book lost momentum near the end, in the chapter on natitas, in Bolivia. The natitas are skulls, cherished, dressed up, and believed to be able to offer devotees various magical services. As Doughty presented them, they seemed to me more of a folk custom or totem than a funerary ritual, and I found the chapter overlong and dull. Admittedly, my loss of interest in the book corresponded to a visit to the ER for my mother, in which the ER physician surprised us with the report of an entirely unsuspected malignant lung cancer (now also in the spine). That event certainly increased my irritation with the author's repeated gleeful remarks on the “oozings” and “leaks” from the body of an elderly woman she was preparing for burial in the following chapter. As I noted earlier, her humor is sometimes very juvenile, and I think that even without Mom's metastasizing cancer diagnosis I'd have found it excessive. The conclusion, however, is well done. I really like Doughty's emphasis on encouraging families to be involved with the funerals of their loved ones, and on promoting more “natural,” less profit oriented funerary practices. Three and a half stars.
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  • Joy Clark
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating. I've been telling people all week to add it to their reading lists. We Westerners suck at death and grief. We treat it as a pestilence in its own right, as something to handle only from a distance, and preferably with appropriate hazmat gear. By describing death rituals around the world, Doughty reminds us that death and grief are not things of fear and shame, but should be celebrated and treated with the same dignity and amazement as life (well, considering the lack of dignity inhe Fascinating. I've been telling people all week to add it to their reading lists. We Westerners suck at death and grief. We treat it as a pestilence in its own right, as something to handle only from a distance, and preferably with appropriate hazmat gear. By describing death rituals around the world, Doughty reminds us that death and grief are not things of fear and shame, but should be celebrated and treated with the same dignity and amazement as life (well, considering the lack of dignity inherent in many aspects of life, perhaps that is not the best term, but you know what I'm trying to say). I was particularly struck by Doughty's description of a young woman who went to Mexico to process her grief surrounding the loss of her unborn child. In America, miscarriage and infant loss is so rarely spoken of - it's a taboo subject - and often women are implicitly, or at times, explicitly, held responsible. I miscarried myself several years ago, and I remember having a tough time knowing "how to grieve." I wish we could talk more openly about death in our culture, and I'm hopeful that the efforts of Doughty and others like her will help to at least open up a dialogue. That is, if they can get past the corporate greed of the American funeral industry. If my family is reading this, just throw my body in the ground, send me back to nature, to that from wince I came. If it's legal. If not, take me across the border :-).
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