Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty – A Review

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs Caitlin Doughty

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
Nonfiction | Science | Humor
Published by W. W. Norton Company
Released 10 September 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

“We can’t make death fun, but we can make learning about it fun. Death is science and history, art and literature. It bridges every culture and unites the whole of humanity!”

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love the work that Caitlin Doughty does to promote death-positivity. Like many people, I found her via her incredible YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician (which you should definitely go binge-watch after reading this post). Her non-fiction books have been on my radar since the first, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, was published in 2014. I’m baffled that I haven’t read her books yet since, again, I’m a huge fan.

Having recently gotten in the mood to try audiobooks again, I found the audiobook version of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? on Scribd, narrated by the author herself. I’ll probably buy the physical book and re-read it at some point, but the audiobook is a perfect way to take the information in. Caitlin’s personality shines through so much, and the listening experience is an absolute delight.

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Caitlin Doughty

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? is a collection of questions from children about death. The questions are both profound, important, and, in many cases, hilarious. Caitlin’s answers are likewise perfect, relatable, and, well, hilarious. Are you a fan of light, yet very dark, humor? You’ll love this book.

The questions that Doughty answers in this book range from things like “What would happen if I swallow popcorn kernels before I die and then get cremated?” to “What happens to astronaut bodies in space?” My favorite question (and largest disappointment) was her answer to whether it’s okay and possible to have a “Viking” funeral. You know, laying the body on a small boat and having someone epically shoot a flaming arrow at it, and then watching as the body burns away. Not gonna lie – that was pretty much how I wanted my body disposed of upon death. Spoiler: it’s not possible. Whomp whomp. 

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Although the questions come from children, the book is appropriate for readers of all ages. There were certainly times when I wished that the answers had been longer and explained in more detail, but Doughty has plenty of detailed videos, and two other books, for that. Part of the charm of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeball? is its accessibility. Not everyone wants a ton of detail on decay and funerary practices, so for those people something lighter like this is a great introduction to the topic.

I’m sure there are people that aren’t going to agree with this opinion, but I feel that it’s really important to embrace death and frame it in a positive way. As I mentioned before, that’s something that Caitlin Doughty specializes in, but I want to emphasize it again. I’m unsure if this is true in other countries around the world, but in America, it seems as though people actively avoid thinking about death.

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I get it – no one wants to think about something as scary as death. Guess what, though? It’s inevitable. By not growing up in a death-positive environment, it makes grief so much harder to handle. I’m not saying that death will ever be easy because it won’t. Losing the people you love is hard. All I’m saying is that if, as a culture, we become more aware of dying, death, and funeral processes, it would be easier to know what’s ahead of us.

If you’re looking for answers to your burning death questions, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs is the perfect place to start. Whether you read it physically or listen to the amazing audiobook, you’ll find yourself laughing at Caitlin’s infectious personality and learning about corpse disposal at the same time. Never thought you’d do that, huh?


Have you read any of Caitlin Doughty’s books? What are your thoughts? Let me know down in the comments!




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Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore – A Review

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Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
Magical Realism | Fantasy
Published by Del Rey Books
Released August 22nd, 2017
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

“Perfection is being happy with what you are right now.” 

I apologize in advance for this review, because I have no idea how to even start reviewing this incredible piece of literature. Days after finishing this novel, I’m still thinking about it constantly. I already want to read it again, in fact. It made me want to read everything Michael Poore has ever written. Yes, it’s that good.

My brother, who is also an avid reader, recommended this book to me some time ago, but unfortunately, it took me months to actually get around to reading it. While I wished I had read it a long time ago, I’m just thankful that this story is now in my life.

I hope I’m not building this book up too much for you guys. Actually, I kind of hope I am, because you should read it.

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Michael Poore

Reincarnation Blues is about Milo, a man who has been reincarnated almost 10,000 times. He’s told by his afterlife handlers (I don’t know how else to describe them), Mama and Nan, that he’s only got a few more chances to reach perfection, or he will become nothing. His goal doesn’t become just reaching perfection however; he tries to help his girlfriend, Death (aka. Suzie), to be able to live the life she wants (or, afterlife I suppose).

While I was reading Reincarnation Blues I kept getting strong Salman Rushdie vibes due to the magical realism and the type of dark humor that Poore wove into the story, but this is very much a unique novel that I’ve never encountered before. Poore has a unique writing voice and a story-telling technique that made me fall in love with the book pretty much immediately.

We get to learn the stories of Milo’s last few lives, along with shorter tales of his previous lives. I particularly loved the stories following Milo during the end of life on Earth, as one of the Buddha’s disciples, when he makes a powerful sacrifice on another world, and then his experience as a juggler in the afterlife.

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The Italian edition of Reincarnation Blues

His lives are lived in a non-linear chronology, as time doesn’t matter as much in the afterlife and in choosing his next life. We jump back and forth in time, but no worries if time travel isn’t your thing – you barely even notice it.

The love story between Milo and Suzie (aka Death) was well-done and left my heart breaking at times and smiling at others. Both of their characters were well-developed and had their own goals. Milo needed to find a way to reach perfection, while Suzie wanted to be more than Death.

There’s so much dark humor, along with wisdom about making the most of our own lives. Filled with plenty of joys and tragedies, this book will make you feel so many different emotions as you turn each page, making the experience of reading this novel quite powerful.

I don’t use the term masterpiece often, but Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is a masterpiece. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and has easily forced its way into my top ten favorite books of all time. It’s been ages since I’ve read something as unique and imaginative as this, and I recommend that everyone read it.


Have you read Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues? What were your thoughts about it? Let me know in the comments!




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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – A Review

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Humor | Fantasy
Published by William Marrow
Released May 1, 1990
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

I’m furious at myself for not reading this book sooner! It’s been on my TBR for years, and despite Neil Gaiman being one of my favorite authors, for some reason unknown to me, I never found time to read it. I was finally prompted to pick it up since the Amazon Prime series based on it, starring David Tennant, is premiering on May 31st.

This book is hilarious. If you are a fan of funny, absurdist, fantastical novels such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxyyou will absolutely adore this novel.

The synopsis itself is intriguing: Crowley (a demon) and Aziraphale (an angel) are both living on earth and enjoying themselves. As they’ve been there for literal ages, they have reached a pact to let each other do what they will without interference from the other. Eventually, the Antichrist is born, but he is misplaced due to a botched baby-switching. The rest of the story is Crowley and Aziraphale trying to locate the Antichrist to stop the Apocalypse from happening.

There are other characters as well: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; Newton Pulsifer, a modern-day witchfinder, along with his Witchfinder Sergeant, Shadwell; Madame Tracy, a medium and “painted Jezebel;” and Anathema Device, who is the descendant of Agnes Nutter, who wrote the only accurate book of prophecies. These characters are all bizarre in their own ways, but their stories weave together wonderfully.

Despite the absurdity of the novel, there are bits of wisdom scattered throughout, such as this statement by Aziraphale:

“Evil always contains the seeds of its own destruction. It is ultimately negative, and therefore encompasses its downfall even at its moments of apparent triumph. No matter how grandiose, how well-planned, how apparently foolproof an evil plan, the inherent sinfulness will by definition rebound upon its instigators. No matter how apparently successful it may seem upon the way, at the end it will wreck itself. It will founder upon the rocks on iniquity and sink headfirst to vanish without trace into the seas of oblivion.”

The novel is a fun adventure and there were so many times when I caught myself laughing out loud while I was reading it at work, which isn’t something that happens often. This is one of those books that I know I’ll be able to read over and over again without getting tired of it.

If you like the style of either Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett on their own, chances are you’ll enjoy this.

Battlestar Suburbia by Chris McCrudden – A Review

“‘You know,’ added Alma, ‘the older I get, the more I think it’s not war or politics or all that stuff that makes history what it is. From what I can see, it’s all about the house prices.'”

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The Book

Battlestar Suburbia by Chris McCrudden
Published by Farrago
Release Date: September 20, 2018
Goodreads
Author Links: Twitter
I received a free digital ARC of this novel through NetGalley

Synopsis

Imagine a world in which robots and machines have decided that they are superior to the humans that created them and have taken over the world. That’s the setting of Chris McCrudden’s Battlestar Suburbia.

Humans have been reduced to custodians, and live on small satellites in orbit around Earth, called The Dolestars. They exist to service their machine overlords, and that’s about it.

In this world, the internet has been completely banned, and anyone that uses it will be persecuted, whether machine or human.

“Of course, officially no one had accessed the Internet for millennia. The ‘Schism’ between the machines who lived as software and hardware dated back to the first few foggy decades after artificial intelligence kicked humanity out of power. There had been a war. A brutal one, with countless machines dead on either side just from defending their edits on the war’s Wikipedia page. It had been the first, and thankfully the last, incident where robots fought one another. In the end they agreed on two things: that they should try living apart, and if anyone were to blame it was the humans.”

The story follows two humans, Darren and Kelly, as well as a sentient breadmaker named Pamasonic Teffal, aka Pam.

Darren and Kelly are on the run after accidentally damaging a floating spy streetlamp. Pam has been asked to track the humans down by a smartphone named Sonny Erikzon.

Kelly leads Darren to her mother’s underground hair salon, Kurl Up and Dye, where he is introduced to the last four cyborgs in existence. Together, they fight against the machines as they reject their robot rulers. The tale is an exciting adventure through the Dolestar Discovery and the robot surface of the earth, where the skyscrapers reach high into the atmosphere and the oceans have been filled with concrete.

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Photo by Rock’n Roll Monkey on Unsplash

Review

Battlestar Suburbia reminds me a lot of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyIt’s funny, exciting, and very ridiculous. I had never heard of Chris McCrudden before, but the cover caught my eye, and after reading the synopsis, I had a strong feeling I would love this book.

I loved the premise of both software and hardware deciding they no longer wanted to be ruled by humans and then gaining control of the planet. There are so many scenes of what the internet has become that made me laugh:

“On the Internet, however, World of Warcraft avatars merged with Reddit trolls to spawn a line of programmes so fanatical about defending the purity of their messageboards that they made a terrorist cell look like a basketful of sleeping kittens.”

The machine brothels were also pretty hilarious. Machines pay humans to “service” them, and role-play that humans are still able to use the machines as what they were originally meant to be.

There’s also a quip at our current administration and racism:

“Sonny’s broadcast was a masterful piece of propaganda, in that it gave already paranoid machines the excuse to treat their prejudices like they were facts. ‘Now, don’t get me wrong,’ rang the conversation in billions of homes, offices and public charging points, ‘I like humans. The lady who cleans our house is a sweetheart. But these people are different. And he’s right. We have to do something.” 

I enjoyed the book very much as an adventure story. It’s fast-paced, and the characters travel through both the physical world and the world of code. It’s interesting to have characters divide themselves and work among memes and firewalls.

There was one aspect of this book that prevented me from giving it five stars, and that’s simply that I could not picture the machine characters, at all. Are these sentient breadmakers and smartphones just floating? Do they have human-style arms and legs? I have no idea. Most of the book, I pictured some variation on this:

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Or this:

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Photo by Owen Beard on Unsplash

There are scenes where Pam has an LED nail job, so I’m guessing they at least have arms attached? I wish the author had spent more time describing the machine characters in order to give the readers something easier to imagine.

At the end of the book, there’s a brief advertisement for the second book in this series, which made me really happy. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Verdict

4 out of 5 stars. It was immensely enjoyable to read, and I appreciate any book that makes me laugh out loud.