“If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture—that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.”
The critically acclaimed account of Caitlin Doughty’s first year working on the funerary frontlines
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
‘Unforgettable … a hilarious, poignant and impassioned plea to revolutionise our attitudes to death’ Gavin Francis, Guardian
From her first day at Westwind Cremation & Burial, twenty-three-year-old Caitlin Doughty threw herself into her curious new profession. Coming face-to-face with the very thing we go to great lengths to avoid thinking about she started to wonder about the lives of those she cremated and the mourning families they left behind, and found herself confounded by people’s erratic reactions to death. Exploring our death rituals - and those of other cultures - she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying. Full of bizarre encounters, gallows humour and vivid characters (both living and very dead), this illuminating account makes this otherwise terrifying subject inviting and fascinating.
“A zingy, fresh and possibly even important book about death … This book might change your life”
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“Upbeat, brave and brilliantly, morbidly curious … Important and timely”
“A well-researched, beautifully observed book and Doughty is a convincing and impassioned advocate for changes in our cultural attitudes towards death … There’s much to enjoy in this thoughtful, unflinching and highly entertaining memoir”
“Absolutely and utterly life affirming … Nothing is off limits … And yet all of it is written with the utmost respect … There are many moments that moved me … Doughty’s language is full of the notion of care”
“Funny but not flippant, sometimes painful, but rightly so, and always compelling”
Caitlin Doughty was born and raised in Hawaii before gaining a degree in Medieval History from the University of Chicago. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she owns an alternative funeral home, Undertaking LA. She is the creator of the ‘Ask a Mortician’ web series, the founder of the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Dead and co-founder of Death Salon.