All the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I found this book listed on Kindle Daily Deals and was instantly intrigued. I mean, I write horror stories, watch true crime documentaries and read a lot of thrillers, so of course I'm curious about the business of death and the people who do these jobs.
Actually, I wrote a novel featuring a funeral home (that needs revising) last year, so... yeah. I had to read this.
Before I say anything else, let me just mention how heavy this book is. Not only because it's packed with useful facts and figures, but emotionally. It's so emotionally taxing, I took my time reading it. But it was well worth my time.
Hayley Campbell isn't shy about her interest in death. She's fascinated by it, mostly because she wants the answers no one can provide. No matter what religion tells you, we have no idea what comes after and this is a question that haunts humans most of their lives. But more than that, she's on a quest to find out about the people who perform all the essential background duties. All the very important medical, clinical, physical tasks most don't want to think about. Who are these people who deal with death on a daily basis? How do they deal with it? Why did they sign up for these jobs? Are they kind and caring? Morbid and creepy?
Well, this book certainly puts a spotlight on a lot of very interesting and intriguing people. Hayley conducts detailed interviews and all of the professionals she speaks to explain a lot about what they do and why they do it.
These are the people she interviews or the places she goes: a funeral director, the Mayo Clinic, an artist who makes death masks, international emergency services, crime scene cleaner, executioner, embalmers, anatomical pathology technologist (APT), bereavement midwife, grave diggers, crematorium, cryonics, and a police officer.
She even mentioned Rotten.com. OMG. My husband and I (before we were even married) saw quite a few distressing images on this site. 😳
I also liked the way she rounded everything out with the pandemic.
This is a great book, but isn't for everyone because there are plenty of in-depth descriptions, disturbing topics, and imagery that sticks.
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