“To my adorable future corpses,” reads the dedication to Caitlin Doughty’s Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions From Tiny Mortals About Death. Doughty’s forthright but playful tone is apparent before you even get to the table of contents.
Written as an answer book to all the questions Doughty has fielded from young and inquiring minds during her career as a mortician, author and death activist (more on that later), Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? is perhaps the most enchanting little book ever to discuss such matters as whether or not one’s body might explode if one’s final meal before being loaded into the crematorium included popcorn.
Anyone with a child in their life will be unsurprised at the sorts of curious hypotheticals that are posed in this book, or at a hyper-focus on the ins and outs of the corpse. It is to her credit that Doughty not only answers those questions that would seem to fall easily within her area of expertise but dutifully chases down the science that might provide a plausible answer to the fate of an astronaut who slipped from this mortal coil while on a spacewalk.
However, this book is by no means solely for death-curious children. Most if not all of the answers provided alongside the charmingly gothic illustrations will be news to the average adult reader, as well. In her career, Doughty has worked to rehabilitate a Western culture that has become death-illiterate through an increased outsourcing of the caregiving and rituals surrounding death. And as Doughty orients death as sometimes sad but normal, she touches on subjects that are of interest to adult readers who may be planning for end of life care, or helping someone else do so, such as eco-friendly, natural burial.
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? (which, yes, does include an answer to that question as well) provides answers to questions both humorous and moving, bringing tiny and full-sized mortals alike to a greater comfort with and understanding of the one transition that will happen to us all.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our interview with Caitlin Doughty, author of Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?