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Smoke Gets in your Eyes

Smoke Gets in your Eyes

& Other Lessons From the Crematory

Large Print - 2015 | Large print edition.
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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.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, [2015]
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781410475183
Characteristics: 363 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
large print


From Library Staff

List - Death Cafe
Tualatin_AimeeM Mar 09, 2020

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.

From the critics

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Apr 18, 2021

It's worth a look since it has a lot of interesting (and, unsurprisingly gorey) insights on the death industry.
The amount of dramatic flair provides enough momentum to get you through the book in a couple hours. There's all of the fun details about funeral home corpses and more. At times, it may read a bit like a YA novel because of how it'll swing between morbidly whimsical, and just morbid.

At moments, the dramatic flair and personal touches made the topic all the more potent. And at some points, it just makes me confused or uncomfortable. Assuming you're fine with all the bloated, slimy details of a decomposing body, you may still be discomforted by the brief part of the book talking about the author's suicidal thoughts.

The chapter openings sometimes only seem tangentially related to the topic. None of them in particular stand out except the one passage where she remarks that her coworker would never call a man of unknown nationality "Mexican," but she remembers her coworker doing so. She then says that it could just be a flaw in her memory. Either way, it just felt out of place and awkward-- like, "What's up. Here's a moment of racial insensitivity towards a corpse. I hope this is fun and relatable."

Jan 08, 2021

Plan on buying this book after reading it at the library. Loved it.

Jan 13, 2020

Clumsy. Shallow, cringe-y attempts at humor. "A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves." Please kill me.

Sep 30, 2019

Although this is a memoir of Doughty's work in a crematory, it's also a history and analysis of death and funeral beliefs and rituals across time and cultures. While sharing often funny anecdotes from her experiences, the author also points out how America's "denial of death" culture has left us unprepared for the normal aging process and ripe for financial ripoff by the funeral industry. Sometimes gross, sometimes disturbing, this book will show you the true meaning of morbid humor. Doughty also has a popular web series called "Ask a Mortician".

Aug 14, 2019

Smoke Gets in your Eyes is a memoir from a person who lead a unique life. The book explores many foreign concepts of death, and discusses the rationale for how we treat the dead and what to expect for the future. I did not expect this book to impact me as much as it did, and it drove me to consider things that I have never been driven to think of before. It promoted a lot of introspection, and I would encourage anyone to read this book and share in these uncommon thoughts.

Jul 07, 2019

It was really interesting to get a peek "Behind the Curtain" so to speak at what Caitlin's life was like before she became everyone's favourite Mistress of the Deathlings. There's a lot I didn't know (Or admittedly didn't WANT to know or consider) about death and the funeral industry, and a lot of what she said was really resonating with me. (Especially embalming wise, having recently been to a funeral where the deceased looked just nothing like they had in life). I'm looking forward to her next book now too, she's a fascinating author and I absolutely recommend her books.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to add this one to our Staff Picks list at work!

IndyPL_KaseyP Jul 01, 2019

I came to Caitlin Doughty's biography a bit backwards. I read her second book, "From Here to Eternity" first. Then I started watching her Youtube channel "Ask a Mortician". I only found out about her first book when a patron asked for it. I'm glad I did, though. This memoir is funny, quirkily morbid, and strangely uplifting. The result of a life questioning why we must be so afraid of death. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

May 15, 2019

When I'm asked for book recommendations, I never hesitate to name "Smoke Gets in your Eyes" by Caitlin Doughty. I once took a class in college called "Death and Dying in the Western World" and this book perfectly sums up the topics that we covered and the somewhat peculiar ways in which Americans view death. Doughty delivers the ultimate trifecta of humor, history, and trade skills in the field of post-death practices. As others have said, this book is the very definition of morbidly funny.

Kstobo May 05, 2019

Fantastic book about a grisly topic. Treated with humour and dignity (even when the subject is less than dignified). Super interesting!

Oct 03, 2018

Some dull moments I just wanted to skip through, but a thoroughly interesting and well written book. I would 100% recommend it!

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Aug 14, 2019

pataustin11 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Sep 30, 2019

"Two young men poked their heads in and looked around suspiciously. "Uh...yes, afternoon ma'am, we're in Science Support here with, your uh...heads."


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