Keith Staskiewicz
September 28, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Caitlin Doughty
genre
Memoir

We gave it an B+

Of the two certainties, death and taxes, only the former truly fascinates us. (Unless you have a thing for audits.) Doughty is a licensed mortician — and the host of the Web series Ask a Mortician — who has been curious about our final terminus ever since her childhood goldfish went belly-up, and in this memoir she spills the details of her early years working in a crematory. Like a professional Wednesday Addams, she goes through all the strange, awkward, and unpleasant specifics we, the general populace, would rather not deal with. For instance, how pacemakers can explode during cremation or how, regardless of your pop culture experience, ”seeing a flaming skull is intense beyond your wildest flights of imagination.” It’s mordantly morbid. B+

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