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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Since Jessica Mitford's groundbreaking work was published in 1963, the "American way of death" has undergone extraordinary changes. Or has it? Surprisingly few, in fact, according Mitford in her 1998 follow-up. But journalist Cullen points out that while lawsuits and legislation may or may not change things, baby boomers certainly will. Right now, 2.4 million people die each year. By 2040, that figure will double -- a huge market driven by a group used to having things their own way, from food to fashion to religion to culture, and yes, even death.
More Six Feet Under than Mitford-style exposé, Remember Me is Cullen's eye-opening account of the strange and often bizarre ways Americans are reinventing the practices and rituals of death. How do people view their options? What about a "green" burial -- affordable and environmentally friendly? Or perhaps, turning a loved one's "cremains" into cufflinks or a nice brooch? Who would choose to become a mortician?
Trolling the "death care" industry's convention halls and crashing dozens of funerals, Cullen met the consumers of death and its merchants, and listened to their stories without judgment. The result is a lively, rollicking, and unfailingly absorbing account of how we Americans, whether we like it or not, are preparing for the end. (Fall 2006 Selection)