Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: A Brief History

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a captivating and thought-provoking memoir written by Caitlin Doughty, an American mortician, author, and founder of The Order of the Good Death. Published in 2014, this book takes readers on a remarkable journey into the world of death and the funeral industry.

The Story

Within the pages of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty recounts her own experiences working at a crematory, providing readers with an intimate and visceral look into the oftentimes misunderstood world of death. Doughty expertly weaves together personal anecdotes, ancient rituals, and historical facts to explore our complicated relationship with mortality.

The author describes her initial fascination with death as a child, which ultimately led her to pursue a career in the funeral industry. Through her candid storytelling, Doughty sheds light on the various aspects of death, including embalming practices, cremation, and the funeral business as a whole. She also delves into the history of death rituals and the impact of modern society on how we perceive and deal with death.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes challenges societal taboos surrounding mortality and encourages readers to confront their own mortality head-on. Doughty’s writing is poignant, witty, and laced with dark humor, making this memoir an engaging and enlightening read for anyone interested in exploring the mysteries of life’s inevitable conclusion.

Accolades, Reviews, and Praise

Since its release, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes has garnered critical acclaim for its unique approach to the subject matter and Doughty’s honest and introspective writing style. The book has received numerous accolades and has been praised by both readers and industry professionals.

It was a New York Times bestseller, spending several weeks on the prestigious list and gaining widespread recognition. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was also a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist in 2014, further solidifying its acclaim and popularity among readers.

Readers and critics alike have praised Doughty’s ability to tackle morbid subjects with grace and sensitivity. Her honest reflection on death and her deep knowledge of funeral practices have elevated the discussion surrounding mortality, making Smoke Gets in Your Eyes an important and thought-provoking contribution to the literary world.

Notable Characters

While Smoke Gets in Your Eyes primarily focuses on Caitlin Doughty’s journey and experiences, there are several notable characters that play a significant role in the memoir. These characters include:

  • Tommy – Caitlin’s eccentric coworker at the crematory who shares her passion for understanding death.
  • Grandma Morbid – Caitlin’s beloved grandmother who nurtured her fascination with death from a young age.
  • Dr. Doe – A pivotal mentor figure in Doughty’s life, who guides her through her studies in mortuary science and encourages her to challenge societal norms.

Through Doughty’s vivid portrayals, these characters become more than just individuals – they represent different perspectives on death and add depth to the overall narrative.

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