Monday 5 October 2015

Book ~ "Good Mourning" (2015) Elizabeth Meyer and Caitlin Moscatello

From Goodreads ~ In this funny, insightful memoir, a young socialite risks social suicide when she takes a job at a legendary funeral chapel on New York City's Upper East Side.

"Good Mourning" offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most famous funeral homes in the country where not even big money can protect you from the universal experience of grieving.

Elizabeth Meyer stumbled upon a career in the midst of planning her own father's funeral, which she turned into an upbeat party with Rolling Stones music, thousands of dollars worth of her mother's favorite flowers and a personalized eulogy. Starting out as a receptionist, Meyer quickly found she had a knack for helping people cope with their grief, as well as creating fitting send-offs for some of the city's most high-powered residents. 

Meyer has seen it all: two women who found out their deceased husband was living a double life, a famous corpse with a missing brain and funerals that cost more than most weddings. 

Elizabeth, the author, comes from a rich family.  She is especially close to her father and when he passes away, she plans his funeral exactly how he would have wanted it ... having her mother's favourite flowers, playing Rolling Stones tunes, etc.  She knew that she was good at party planning so thought she'd like to work at Crawford Funeral Home (where her father had his service) and help others plan funerals for their loved ones.  She gets a job as a receptionist but soon is assigned other jobs because of her willingness to do anything and her ability to work with the more wealthy clients.

This book is her story of her experiences (like planning the funerals for a famous singer who had ODed, for a man with two wives and even for a childhood friend who had ODed who she was supposed to meet for supper that night, etc.) and finding herself (her family thought she was crazy to work for $30,000 at a funeral home).

I liked the writing style and found it to be an easy read.  It was at times amusing.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I liked Elizabeth ... I think her heart was in the right place.  It was a bit much, though, to hear her talk about how privileged her life was ... she often namedropped what shoes she wore, who designed her clothes where she bought her coffee, her friends who jetted off to London at the drop of a hat to party, etc..  Even though she sounded like a hard worker, I can see why her co-workers (who were less privileged) didn't like her.

It was interesting to get a behind the scenes view of what happens in a funeral home.  Surprisingly it wasn't too morbid or gory.

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