I haven't read this book yet but the description sounds great. In Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death, writer Lisa Takeuchi Cullen writes of her travels around the country to discover how Americans are reinventing the rites of dying. It seems that the funeral industry is changing rapidly, much of it to the dismay of funeral directors. Cullen reportedly finds the humor and the irony in many of today's funerals.
For traditional funerals, the normal industry players are being shoved aside by newcomers. For instance, Costco now sells caskets made in China at very low prices compared to the prices charged at funeral homes. Many people are bypassing caskets and visiting hours entirely in favor of cremation and perhaps a memorial service held at a local rented hall or even at a local bar.
Others are opting for "theme funerals," including recent examples featuring Harley-Davidsons, lobster-shaped caskets, beer-themed caskets, eco-friendly funerals, "human diamonds" manufactured from a loved one's ashes, and a Colorado town that celebrates a do-it-yourself cryonics pioneer with its Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival, now a major tourist attraction.
Perhaps the funniest story, although also very sad, was the deceased's last wishes to release white doves at a graveside ceremony. I am sure that was envisioned as a touching ceremony. The doves were released, as planned, and immediately attracted a passing hawk who enjoyed the dinner as shocked mourners looked on.
This book is “A must read for anyone who plans on dying,” according to Mary Roach, author of STIFF.
Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen is available at most book stores, although they may need to order it. Ask for ISBN-10: 0060766840. Amazon.com has it available for $5.98 plus postage. It is also available as a Kindle ebook.
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