“Here’s the deal: it’s normal to be curious about death,” writes mortician and New York Times best-selling author Caitlin Doughty in the introduction of her new book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death (2019, W. W. Norton & Company).
Doughty, who gives death-related talks around the globe to wide varieties of audiences, gathers the best questions she has received from children, stating that “all death questions are good death questions, but the most direct and most provocative questions come from kids.”
Ranging from physical (“What would happen if you swallowed a bag of popcorn before you died and were cremated?”) to practical (“If someone is trying to sell a house, do they have to tell the buyer someone died there?”) to outrageous (“Can we give Grandma a Viking funeral?”), Doughty answers each question with care and attention, providing extensive research alongside her personal experiences while remaining lighthearted and humorous. Her delicate balance of respect for her subject matter paired with her hilarious and approachable way with words makes an already fascinating topic that much more interesting.
If you have ever wondered if a mummy smelled bad when they were wrapped, or if someone can donate blood after death, this book holds the answers to those questions and many more. Do people actually see a white light as they are dying?
Doughty details accounts from near death experiences around the world and throughout history. What is the optimal depth to bury a beloved pet who has passed? Generally speaking, three and a half feet is ideal.
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? shares practical advice, cultural customs and squeamish details in abundance – feel free to jump around to only the questions that interest you, but take in the whole collection for a multitude of fascinating facts. Doughty passionately reminds us that “death is science and history, art and literature. It bridges every culture and unites the whole of humanity!”
Check out Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs at your closest Denver Public Library location, and find more information on this title and its author at www.caitlindoughty.com.
Hannah Evans is the senior librarian at the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library.