Smoke gets in your eyes : & other lessons from the crematory

by Doughty, Caitlin,

Format: Print Book [2014]
Availability: Available at 28 Libraries 28 of 34 copies
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Baldwin Borough Library Biography and Memoir 363.7 DOU
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Brentwood Library Nonfiction 363.75 Doughty
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Carnegie Library of McKeesport Nonfiction 363.75 D744
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Cooper-Siegel Community Library Non-Fiction 363.75 DOU
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Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 363.75 DOUGHTY
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 363.7 Dou
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North Versailles Public Library Non-Fiction 363.75 DOUG
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Northern Tier Regional Library Nonfiction 363.7 DOUGH
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Northland Public Library Nonfiction 363.75 D74
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Pleasant Hills Public Library Nonfiction 363.75 D73
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Robinson Library Non-Fiction 363.7 DOUGHTY
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Sewickley Public Library Nonfiction 363.75 DOU 2014
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Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 363.75 D
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South Park Library Biographies 363.75092 DOU
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Upper St. Clair Township Library Biography & Memoir 818 DOUGHTY
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Whitehall Public Library Nonfiction Collection NF 363.75 D744
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Wilkinsburg Public Library - Eastridge Biography 92 DOU 2014
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Summary
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).

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* In life, death is the only guarantee, yet many of us live in fear of the great equalizer. Doughty, a licensed L.A. mortician, is here to reinstate death to what she feels is its rightful place at the heart of life. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes recounts Doughty's fascination (nay obsession) with death, which began, as a child, when she witnessed a toddler's fatal two-story fall, and has continued through her work monitoring a cremation retort and her studies at mortuary school. Doughty pairs her personal narrative with an engrossing examination of various cultures' relationships with death (1800s Parisian morgues displaying corpses for public view, complete with food and toy vendors; Brazilian Wari' roasting and consuming their dead tribesmen; North America's current billion-dollar funeral industry). Not shying away from candid descriptions of corpses, cremation, and putrefaction, Doughty professional both in the field and on the page details postmortem proceedings not to repulse but to reveal our modern society's death denial (as Carl Jung put it, It won't help to hear what I think about death). Doughty begs to differ. Her sincere, hilarious, and perhaps life-altering memoir is a must-read for anyone who plans on dying.--Fronk, Katharine Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this valiant effort Doughty, a Hawaii-born LA mortician and creator of the web series "Ask a Mortician," uses her work as a crematorium operator at the family-owned Westwind Cremation and Burial in Oakland, Calif., to challenge the way we view death. Having studied medieval history in college, Doughty found an early job with the real deal: feeding the two huge "retorts," the cremation machines in the Westwind warehouse, with corpses-some not so fresh-retrieved by order from private homes or, more often, from hospitals, nursing homes, and the coroner's office. Doughty was eager to prove her mettle, and offered to do any number of odious tasks, such as shaving corpses, or otherwise helping Bruce the embalmer prepare them for the bereaved family's viewing: pumping them with the "salmon pink cocktail" of formaldehyde and alcohol, wielding the trusty trocar, and sewing closed mouths and eyelids. Her descriptions about picking dead babies up from the hospital prove particularly difficult to read. Nonetheless, Doughty does stare death in the face, by tracking down numerous ancient rituals (she observes approvingly how some Eastern cultures still participate in the preparing of the body), pursuing fascinating new words such as "desquamation" and "bubblating" (both refer to excess fluids), and celebrating the natural function of decomposition. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Doughty, Caitlin.
Undertakers and undertaking -- United States -- Biography.
Undertakers and undertaking -- Anecdotes.
Publisher New York :[2014]
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description x, 254 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 246-254).
ISBN 9780393240238
0393240231
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