Essays, History, Nonfiction, Sociology

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs by Caitlin Doughty

Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death

After reading From Here to Eternity for my nonfiction book club, I was really excited to discover that Caitlin had a new book coming in the fall and our W. W. Norton sales rep very kindly sent me an advance reader copy. Oddly enough, my coworkers have now dubbed this “Sarah’s Death Book Summer” after reading 2 books by Caitlin as well as Stiff by Mary Roach.


From the Inside Flap:
Everyday, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. The best questions come from kids. What would happen to an astronaut’s body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking Funeral?

In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, doughty blends her mortician’s knowledge of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five distinctive questions posed by her youngest fans. In her inimitable voice, Doughty details lore and science of what happens to, and inside, our bodies after we die. Why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? And why do hair and nails appear longer after death? Readers will learn the best soil for mummifying your body, whether you can preserve your best friend’s skull as a keepsake, and what happens when you die on a plane.

Click on this graphic to explore the book page on LibraryThing!
This graphic was used as my staff pick blurb at the bookstore I used to work at.


And so continues on Sarah’s Summer of Death Books. As some of you will know, if you’ve followed me for awhile, I lost my grandmother just shy of a year ago. And to say I didn’t handle it well would be an understatement. As such, I’ve been trying to adopt a more death-positive outlook by trying to separate the physical change and act of grieving. And in that attempt, I have been reading more books about the subject of death, from Caitlin’s From Here to Eternity to Mary Roach’s Stiff.

This particular book is fascinating in that it is a collection of questions and answers about the physical changes that take place to a body during and after death, asked to mortician Caitlin Doughty by children and their infinite curiosity. Never have I laughed so heartily while reading a book about a topic I formerly found incredibly depressing. It’s a quick read, the format lends itself well to picking it up and putting it down, reading “chapters” as one finds oneself curious about a particular area, and all of the questions are intriguing and engaging.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Click this image to visit the book page on my Bookshop page!

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