From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and the author of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? as well as the New York Times best-selling books Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and From Here to Eternity. She is the creator of the “Ask a Mortician” web series and founder of The Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she owns and runs a funeral home.
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: W.W. Norton Company
Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty embarks on a global expedition to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Zoroastrian sky burials to wish-granting Bolivian skulls, she investigates the world’s funerary customs and expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with dignity. Her account questions the rituals of the American funeral industry—especially chemical embalming—and suggests that the most effective traditions are those that allow mourners to personally attend to the body of the deceased. Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a fascinating tour through the unique ways people everywhere confront mortality.
My Thoughts & Takeaways
I’ve wanted to read Caitlin’s books for a long time but never got around to it. I’ve now read Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs and this one, From Here to Eternity.
And, I absolutely love her writing. As much as I have a weird fascination with the morbid and macabre, I also have a very unhealthy amount of death anxiety. For as long as I can remember, I’ve worried about aging. Something I shouldn’t worry about especially at like 20 years of age.
It’s like Caitlin was talking directly to me when she talked about this death anxiety. As she travels the globe, she shares her first-hand experiences of getting up close and personal with death.
Each section was captivating and by the end of the book, I actually felt a bit of my own death anxiety dissipate a little bit.
Every Westerner (especially Americans) should read this book. No matter what you want to be done with your body when you die, there is really no reason why death should cost us so much.
I can’t wait to read Smoke Gets in Your Eyes next.