Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Book Summary - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Book explained in key points

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes summary

Brief summary

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty is a thought-provoking memoir that offers a behind-the-scenes look into the world of crematoriums and examines society's relationship with death.

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    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
    Summary of key ideas

    Exploring the World of Death

    In Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty takes us on a journey through her early career as a crematory operator. She begins by recounting her first encounter with death, witnessing a young child fall to his death at a shopping mall. This traumatic experience sparks her fascination with death and sets her on a path to demystify the taboo surrounding it.

    Doughty's journey leads her to a job at a crematory, where she is confronted with the harsh realities of death. She describes the physical and emotional toll of her work, from handling deceased bodies to consoling grieving families. Despite the grim nature of her job, she finds solace in providing a dignified end for the deceased.

    Challenging Cultural Attitudes Towards Death

    As Doughty becomes more entrenched in the world of death, she begins to question the Western approach to mortality. She criticizes the sanitized and commercialized funeral industry, where death is often hidden from view and the deceased are heavily embalmed to preserve a lifelike appearance. Doughty argues that this approach distances us from the reality of death and inhibits the grieving process.

    She contrasts this with the death practices of other cultures, such as the open-air cremations in India and the sky burials in Tibet. These rituals, she argues, offer a more intimate and honest approach to death, allowing the living to confront mortality directly and participate in the funeral process.

    Advocating for Death Positivity

    Throughout Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Doughty advocates for a more positive and open attitude towards death. She co-founds The Order of the Good Death, an organization dedicated to promoting death acceptance and reforming the funeral industry. The Order encourages discussions about death and offers alternative funeral options, such as green burials and home funerals, that align with Doughty's vision of a more natural and personal approach to death.

    She also emphasizes the importance of acknowledging our mortality and living life to the fullest. By accepting death as a natural part of life, Doughty argues, we can better appreciate the time we have and make more meaningful choices.

    Confronting Our Fear of Death

    In the latter part of the book, Doughty delves into the psychological aspects of our fear of death. Drawing on her experiences and research, she explores the roots of our death anxiety and the ways it influences our behavior and society. She suggests that by confronting our fear of death, we can lead more fulfilling lives and foster a healthier relationship with mortality.

    In conclusion, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a thought-provoking exploration of death and dying. Doughty's personal experiences and insights challenge us to reconsider our cultural attitudes towards death and embrace a more positive and honest approach to mortality.

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    What is Smoke Gets in Your Eyes about?

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty is a captivating memoir that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the funeral industry. Doughty shares her own experiences working in a crematory and explores society's relationship with death. Through poignant stories and thought-provoking insights, she challenges the fear and taboo surrounding death, and urges us to ponder our own mortality.

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Review

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (2014) by Caitlin Doughty is a thought-provoking memoir that offers a unique perspective on death and dying. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a raw and honest account of the author's experiences working in the funeral industry, shedding light on a subject often considered taboo.
    • Blending humor and personal anecdotes, Doughty brings a refreshing and relatable voice to a topic that is often perceived as morbid and depressing.
    • The book encourages readers to reexamine their own relationship with mortality and challenges societal norms surrounding death, making it an enlightening and thought-provoking read.

    Who should read Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    • Individuals who are curious about death and the funeral industry
    • People seeking a non-traditional perspective on mortality and end-of-life care
    • Readers who enjoy a blend of memoir, cultural exploration, and dark humor

    About the Author

    Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, author, and advocate for changing the way society views death. She is the founder of The Order of the Good Death, an organization that aims to bring a more open and honest conversation about mortality. Doughty's book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, explores her experiences working in the funeral industry and challenges the taboo surrounding death. Her other notable works include From Here to Eternity and Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

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    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes FAQs 

    What is the main message of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    Death is a natural part of life. Embracing mortality can help us live more fully.

    How long does it take to read Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    Reading time for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Smoke Gets in Your Eyes a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Worth reading. Doughty provides a unique perspective on death that challenges the taboo.

    Who is the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    The author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is Caitlin Doughty.

    How many chapters are in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes has 18 chapters.

    1. Dead Bodies Great and Small
    2. The Undertaking
    3. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
    4. Above All Do No Harm
    5. Failure to Thrive
    6. The Necropants Dance
    7. Unquiet Earth
    8. A Good Death Is Hard to Find
    9. Just Get Me Out of Here
    10. Grave Matters
    11. Heaven's Secretary
    12. Don't Try This at Home
    13. Death Becomes Us
    14. A Face in the Crowd
    15. Urne-Buriall
    16. Live for Today/Think About Death
    17. Urne-Buriall II
    18. Into the Fire
    19. Requiem

    How many pages are in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes contains 254 pages.

    When was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes published?

    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was published in 2014.

    What to read after Smoke Gets in Your Eyes?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
    • The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
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    • Gang Leader For A Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
    • Do No Harm by Henry Marsh