REVIEW: Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

Best-selling author and mortician Caitlin Doughty answers real questions from kids about death, dead bodies, and decomposition.

Every day, funeral director Caitlin Doughty receives dozens of questions about death. The best questions come from kids. What would happen to an astronaut’s body if it were pushed out of a space shuttle? Do people poop when they die? Can Grandma have a Viking funeral?

In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, Doughty blends her mortician’s knowledge of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses to offer factual, hilarious, and candid answers to thirty-five distinctive questions posed by her youngest fans. In her inimitable voice, Doughty details lore and science of what happens to, and inside, our bodies after we die. Why do corpses groan? What causes bodies to turn colors during decomposition? And why do hair and nails appear longer after death? Readers will learn the best soil for mummifying your body, whether you can preserve your best friend’s skull as a keepsake, and what happens when you die on a plane.

Beautifully illustrated by Dianné Ruz, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? shows us that death is science and art, and only by asking questions can we begin to embrace it.

Review  

After reading Jennie’s review of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” the author’s name was familiar to me. And then I saw this title. Since I have four cats, I just had to pick this book up, kick its tires, and give it a spin. I never gave my cats a side-eye while reading it (and still won’t) but the answer to the question is yes, Fluffy – and Rover – will do what they have to in order to survive after their beloved owners bite the dust and the food bowl is empty. But eyes probably wouldn’t be the first part to go. 

Doughty’s intro says that all the questions in the book came from children. Part of me was fascinated by that and part of me thought, “Whoa!, Really? Children certainly are more willing to pipe up today.” Doughty doesn’t sugar coat anything but neither are her answers puerile or excessively gross. But remember we are talking about bodies and (mostly) ones that are only recently dead (though there are a few questions about mummies). Things are going to get icky and squicky in regard to some of the answers. I found most of it very interesting. Readers still not sure if they want to tackle the book would be advised to check out the chapter titles and see if they sound like something you can manage. If not, I’d advise skipping the book. B    

~Jayne 

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