Death in the modern world is something that polite society does not ponder upon for too long, nor is it something that we really discuss openly and honestly. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes recounts one woman’s journey into the mysterious world of death, from witnessing a death at the tender age of eight to the triumphs and tragedies during her time employed in a crematorium.
The author’s blunt and sometimes confronting observations surrounding modern death practices compared to the rituals practiced by ancient cultures makes for some very thought-provoking reading. To offset what might otherwise be considering quite a gloomy book, the comic relief sometimes contains strong visuals and is often a little gruesome but it also allows for the reader to adapt their view point and address a lot of the negativity that revolves around death. Perhaps the best quality about this book and its material is the raw honesty that oozes from the pages. The author definitely does not glamourize death and nor does she try to gloss over what her profession entails. She lays down the facts and her opinions in a candid, open way that in the end is quite enlightening.
I’m not going to lie and tell you this is an easy read. Some parts made me need to put down the book and step away. It is, however, an eye-opening book that all in all was quite enjoyable. I didn’t think it was possible to write about death in a way that is both engaging and insightful but Caitlin Doughty manages to pull it off with style and grace. If you’re curious or merely looking for something a little outside the box to sink your teeth into, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a must read.