Friday, April 1, 2016
Book Review: Good Mourning
Elizabeth Meyer, a privileged Manhattan socialite, isn’t sure where her life is headed. After losing her father too soon to cancer, she’s left feeling devastated and very alone. Sure, she has her family, but her father was “her person”, the one she was closest to. After her father’s funeral at the prestigious Crawford, mortuary to the stars, she feels drawn, comforted by the inner workings of the funeral business. So much so, she seeks out employment there, starting out as a receptionist but quickly becoming the sought out funeral planner to the elite and wealthy.
Her family and friends think she’s lost her mind! Elizabeth had been on the fast track, partying it up with other trust fund babies and rich kids who believe wholeheartedly in staying up all night drinking Cristal, sleeping in all day while the commoners of the world work for a living. She’s traded in her Jimmy Choos for Aerosoles, much to the chagrin to those closest to her. For Elizabeth, there’s an innate need in her to help grieving families. In so many ways, she’s working through her own grief over her father, without realizing it.
There’s a lot of push back from her fellow employees, too. The ones who see Elizabeth as just some rich bitch from the neighborhood, never buying her sincerity and honesty. She tries so hard to fit in and be accepted for who she is, not for who her family is, but it’s a hard road. Working with the rich and famous begins to take a toll on her, too, and when she begins to see familiar faces in the morgue, it becomes her breaking point. Will she keep the job she’s grown to love, that’s helped her heal? Or, is it time to move on?
Good Mourning is a cleverly written memoir detailing the realities of one of the most famous mortuaries to the stars. Based on real-life events in the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, Elizabeth details the experiences she’s had, like the the time a body showed up without it’s brain, or the time she’d tried to ensure a diplomat made his funeral on time in France, only for the body to go missing. There is chaos, yet there are many tender, sweet moments, too, where we witness the evolution of a socialite from her less than humble beginnings, to a full-fledged productive member of society, out to change the world and the perception we have of death. With many layers reminiscent of one of my favorite shows of all time, Six Feet Under, this was a big hit for me!
Thanks to Gallery for the book in exchange for an honest review.