Smoke gets in your eyes : and other lessons from the crematory

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Author:  Caitlin  Doughty

Title:  Smoke gets in your eyes : and other lessons from the crematory  

What? An interesting, informative, and occasionally amusing book about death and cremation?In a word, yes. Caitlin Doughty, a licensed mortician, has managed to pull off this seemingly incongruous combo. She recounts her experiences work-wise, beginning with her first job as a crematory operator, and gives a lot of background information about what she refers to as the “death industry.”  Witty, irreverent, and sometimes graphic, this memoir provides food for thought.

Grave undertakings : mortician by day, model by night– one woman’s true-life adventures

From: Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Alexandra Mosca

Title: Grave undertakings : mortician by day, model by night– one woman’s true-life adventures

I was browsing the catalog one day and this particular title so intrigued me, I had to immediately place a reserve upon it. I then anxiously awaited its arrival. The book was entitled Grave undertakings: mortician by day, model by night – one woman’s true-life adventures by Alexandra Kathryn Mosca and it caught my interest from page one. Alexandra’s birth mother died in childbirth and that is only the beginning of Alexandra’s trials. One would think that if an individual or a couple wants to adopt a child, it is done as a humanitarian, selfless act but this is often far from the case. Alexandra’s adoptive parents were mentally and physically abusive and, at sixteen, she went out on her own. From an early age, the pomp and pageantry of funerals and death had fascinated her and she decided her calling was that of mortician. At the time of her decision, this was a career field that did not welcome women. The majority of her fellow classmates at Undertaking College were the children of established funeral families so they already had a position awaiting them. Alexandra had to convince the male establishment of her skills and even then, she was quite often relegated to the position of lady attendant. A lady attendant was the person designated to come in and make up the deceased. Alexandra had a hard time breaking into her field but most of the time managed to keep her spirits high and her determination strong. She proved to me, that if you have a desire and a willingness to sacrifice, anything is possible.

The possibilities

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author:  Kaui Hart  Hemmings
Title:  The possibilities 
The Possibilities, by the author who wrote the novel that became the Academy Award-winning film, “The Descendants,” is the engrossing story of a woman in Breckenridge, Colorado, whose son is killed in an avalanche. As she copes with her grief, surprises surface – and they don’t seem to be good ones. She finds out disturbing things, and then has to deal with a mystery girl who pops up out of the blue and immediately insinuates herself into the family. The Possibilities is an easy read and compelling story.

The Cat

From  Andrea Kalinowski
Author:  Edeet Ravel
The Cat
The Cat by Edeet Ravel is an inside look at the torturous path to recovery from grief. It is a fictitious work but the author so clearly paints a picture that you are drawn into the mother’s agony and suffering. The protagonist is a divorced woman, raising her sole child, a boy, out in the countryside when he is killed by a motorist. Elise, the mom, after the tragic loss of her son, contemplates ending it all. The only thing binding her to this plane and this miserable existence is her son’s beloved feline, Pursie. You feel the wretchedness of Elise’s condition and cheer her as she takes stumbling steps back into the world of the living. She pays a psychiatrist to help her deal with the overwhelming epistolary response to her son’s death. The doctor wades through and selects a few letters, which he feels, do not minimize or negate the trauma Elise has suffered. An inside look at grief, sorrowful but well-written and worth the read.

Before I Fall

From Joanna, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Oliver, Lauren
Before I Fall
 Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver revolves around eighteen year old Samantha Kinston and the last day of her life – over and over again. Cupid’s Day should have been just another day for Sam. She’d go to school with her best friends, park in the best parking spot, and get a rose from her gorgeous boyfriend as well as every other admirer in the school. Then she dies. Seven times, actually. Over and over again Sam relives the very last day of her life changing everything to save herself. Seven chances, seven tries, and only one way to get it right.

First impressions lead you to think that Sam is just another popular girl who has everything she could have ever wanted – and she is, at first. She makes judgments upon association and what it takes to stay at the top. After she dies, though, everything changes. Getting the opportunity to repeat the same day gives Sam a chance to make good on some of the mistakes she has made. She takes the opportunity to see people for who they really are and realizes that saving herself had nothing to do with what she thought it had.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Reading about the same day seven times may seem boring, but the way she lives it makes all the difference. The emotions are raw and the characters three-dimensional. Towards the end, when everything starts to fall into place, you’ll want to finish reading it, every period and comma.

Hothouse

From Carson, Teen Book Reviewer
author: Lynch, Chris
Hothouse
In Hothouse seventeen-year-old Russell had a father who was a fireman. Russell’s best friend, DJ, had a father who was a firefighter too, and Russell and DJ’s family became very close. Since Russell was little, Russell has always recognized himself as a firefighter too, because of some training and experience he received from the firefighter headquarters.

Russell’s and DJ’s fathers both die while fighting a fire. The whole community considers the two fathers as heroes, and the community pays their respects to both families often. Russell doesn’t like bragging, but does enjoy the respect he gets from many people after his father’s death. Then the respect Russell receives changes from positive respect to negative respect. Russell must face the fact that his father has maybe not been such a hero while fighting a fire. Even worse, the community that respected his father and his family now have shame towards them. Who would know what seemed to be so good could become so bad.

I would recommend this book to people who like to read realistic fiction books. Although this novel can be sad, at the same time it’s a well-written descriptive book of about a real life situation that can happen.

A fly for the prosecution : how insect evidence helps solve crimes

From Andrea Kalinowski
author: Goff, M. Lee
A fly for the prosecution : how insect evidence helps solve crimes
A fly for the prosecution : how insect evidence helps solve crimes by M. Lee Goff was a book right up my alley.  The title, a play on Witness for the Prosecution, drew me in and captured my full attention.  This book explores the cycle of life and death in the bug kingdom and how it can assist forensic scientists, and therefore the police, in determining time of death.  Flies come to a body in an orderly sequence that has been documented in an empirical manner.  They are irrefutable witnesses to the crimes man commits against man.  The evidence offered by the flies cannot be refuted successfully and is therefore invaluable to law enforcement.  A quick and enjoyable read