Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the American Way of Death” as Want to Read:
Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the American Way of Death
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the American Way of Death

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  176 ratings  ·  34 reviews

In "Remember Me," "Time" writer Lisa Takeuchi Cullen has created a humorous and poignant chronicle of her travels around the country to discover how Americans are reinventing the rites of dying. What she learned is that people no longer want to take death lying down; instead, they're taking their demise into their own hands and planning the afterparty.

Cullen hears stories

ebook, 240 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Remember Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Remember Me

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 367)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Petra X
The book starts off well enough with an interesting concept of a biodegradeable body-in-a-pod burial in a wood of deciduous trees. It has some other nice ideas - having your ashes cast in concrete with a brass plaque attached and dumped on a reef for the fishes to carouse around. But in between these and one or two other nice ideas the writing is tedious and has TMI on the author and her child, and finally, and tragically on a situation in her own family.

Not too long after I read this book my m
Judy Vasseur
Sensitively written, I am moved to tears while reading about the families of 9/11 victims who had no remains to bury. "One couple...having waited two years, resorted to burying a vial of blood their son had donated."

Other chapters talk about "Green" burials, turning your loved ones into diamonds, "Fantastic Afterlife Vehicles" , cryogenics, plastination, mummification.

In the final chapter, the author loses her own grandfather and describes a very beautiful Buddhist funeral in Japan. Eye opening
As kids, we used to sign autograph books with the rhyme "Remember Grant. Remember Lee. But best of all, remember me." Lisa Takeuchi Cullen takes the reader on a wonderful tour of how America prepares for that final send-off. Not so much about the spiritual traditions that abound in our nation (though there is a little) but more about how we dress up for our final party. I had heard of a fair number of the new alternatives to six feet under, particularly with "cremains". (When my priest friend f ...more
I found this book fascinating, and really enjoyed the way the author made a heavy topic entertaining and informative, without being overly flippant. While I was reading it I tried recommending it to several people, but no one would go for it. We're all going to die some day, and reading this book is a great way to start thinking about what you want for your body after you die, rather than leaving it up to your family or just tradition. I guess for most people, death isn't that fun to think about ...more
I found this book while browsing the library shelves on the general topic & saw a favorable blurb by Mary Roach, so thought I'd give it a whirl.

Written in a personal, yet light-hearted style, Cullen explores the world of "consumer shopping for after-death options". She crashes a funeral industry conference, talks to the creators of LifeGem (man-made diamonds from cremains) and Eternal Reefs (mixing cremains & concrete to make artificial coral reefs), explores mummification and plastinati
Interesting and informative look at the modern way of dealing with death in America.

Don't want to be buried in a coffin in a traditional cemetery? Well, you and millions of other Americans no longer have to. Forget about cremation, that's old news. How about having your ashes turned into diamonds? Or into artificial reefs to rebuild damaged coastlines?

Or if you still want to be buried, how about foregoing embalming and burial in a fancy-shmancy coffin and instead get buried 'organically' under a
This is yet another book collecting essays that repeat over and over, "Wow, look at the weird things people do to celebrate their loved ones!" The book is at its best when she profiles bereaved families, but whenever she makes herself a part of the story, Cullen -- a staff writer for Time magazine -- comes off as remarkably shallow.

Still, I was interested in the company that turns cremains to diamonds and another that is creating an artificial reef out of cremains mixed into cement. There *was*
Jul 18, 2007 Sherrie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who thinks about strange things...
Shelves: 2006booklist
A book about different ways Americans deal with the bodily remains of their loved ones. Everything from creating diamonds out of their carbon producing cremains to the procedure of preserving an entire body with plastique and posing the body in art exhibits. Cullen’s visits a family going through each method of *disposal* for a family member. Her narrative is sympathetic, curious and well thought out. Which method do you want? (Read during my journey to Atlanta to see REM being inducted into the ...more
Loved this book. Each chapter discusses a different aspect of the "new" American way of death whose examples I couldn't help but look up online. From plastination and mummification to artificial reefs and diamonds made from cremains. Not to mention artisanal caskets taking their cue from the insanely elaborate caskets of Ghana. This book provides a truly fascinating and inspiring look into the ways we try to reconcile deep-seated tradition (religious and cultural, new world and old) with individ ...more
If you can get past the writing, it is a really interesting read. The author's tone is self-rightous, judgemental, and bordering on mockery until her own almost redeemable "epilogue" at the end as she reflects on writing the book while coping with her own personal tragedy. The content is neat and I found a few things that I'd consider for myself, though there are some crazy funerals out there! But hey, more power to those that can have it their way on the way out. Wouldn't read anything by this ...more
Easy, funny, interesting read.
A fun little non-fiction book about a journey through how we chose to say goodbye in North America. Never morbid, the author gives us a humour filled cultural tour through funeral rites and convention centres.

Goes to show how ridiculous we can be but also, how we care for and commemorate each other.

Definitely a good read, watch where you read it though, I got more than a few raised eyebrows on the bus.
I picked this up now that the paperback version is available and it balances with my philosophy/jokes book as lunch and train reading. So far I really like its implications as a cultural study, and it may inform my "american death" novel-not-yet-written. I admit it is an emotional read.

It makes me think of the line from the Big Chill, "They throw a great party the one day they know you can't make it."
An interesting and informative read, but it fell a little flat for me because I expected it to measure up to Stiff by Mary Roach, and that wasn't fair. It also fell short of Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death, which the author was clearly aspiring to. Not a bad read, but I preferred the other two books that managed to cover a lot of the same material between them.
Researching how Americans die, and how we are remembered and memorialized after death, sounds morbid and gruesome. Actually, it's moving and funny, with moments of pure hilarity. I want to go to the Dead Guy Festival, just to say I've been. This was a surprisingly good read, with much to say about how we view death, and how we view life and love and the eternal circle of life.
Finding the "Fun" in Funeral. That's what this book is all about. from "Green" burials to making diamonds from human ashes, this book makes the traditional ways seem lame and outdated. Some stories will make you laugh, some will make you cry and some will make you think outside the box...pun intended. Life ends, but your options afterwards are entertainingly endless.
This book talks about the various body deposition options that are available after death. You can be mummified or you can have your cremated ashes turned into diamonds. You can have your body plastinated and added to the traveling "Body Works" display or you can have a burial at sea. Personally I think I'd like a green burial. Interesting read, and not morbid at all.
Dec 24, 2010 Laurie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laurie by: Crystal
Shelves: nonfiction
Cullen's book is a wonderful walk through the weird. From people whose cremains are turned into sealife habitat or diamonds to cryogenics and coffins that second as furniture, there's no end to the jaw-dropping, breathless: "No way." There's even a story about a man who married a corpse. Something about tradition. Yes way.
I enjoyed this book quite a lot. The author's style is very readable. I liked finding out that CSI is not the only recent victim of reality TV (morticians and CSI join doctors, lawyers and models in the fictional world of 'reality'). I especially like the last will and testament way of doing her acknowledgements.
I'm currently working at Parklawn Memorial Park and Menorah Gardens. It's a gorgeous cemetery in Rockville, MD. I remembered tonight that I had an advanced reader's copy that I scored at Book Expo American in 2006. I tried to locate the final copy at some local bookstores but it's out of print. Bummer
A really cool collection of essays on how Americans are choosing to remember/be remembered after death. I wish Cullen had included more of an overarching conclusion to the book—maybe analyzed her stories in more depth to arrive at some conclusions, but it works well as an essay collection I think.
May 09, 2010 Crystal rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girl Sam, Mom, Kevin, Allison
Shelves: nonfiction
It amazes me the innovative ideas people develop. I knew the funeral industry was huge; you know the old saying about the only two sure things in life.... But to think of a way to turn cremains into diamonds or false reefs. The imagination is beyond me and makes for a very interesting read.
Fascinating look at different ways we have of remembering our loved ones after death. From ocean reef to diamonds. How do you want to be remembered?
Not deep (see Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' work for that), not radical (Jessica Mitford does a good job there) but fun. Just fun. Thanks for the fun.
A very thoughtful and poignant read. I especially enjoyed the chapter on mummification. :)
Tongue in cheek style reveals fascinating information about how we deal with death.
Arlene Allen
I want a green burial with one of those muslin shrouds with seeds embedded.
entertaining but not as good as Grave Matters
Very good book, funny, educational, eco-burials.
interesting content but not that well written
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial
  • Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial
  • Not In Kansas Anymore
  • The Whole Death Catalog: A Lively Guide to the Bitter End
  • The Hour of Our Death
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
  • Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains
  • The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
  • Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die
  • Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death
  • Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation
  • Death, Dissection and the Destitute
  • When We Die: The Science, Culture, and Rituals of Death
  • The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death
  • Firefighters: Their Lives in Their Own Words
  • The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries
  • Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear
  • The Science of Everyday Life
I'm Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. I used to be a journalist. Now I make stuff up.

In both fact and fiction I'm drawn to worlds I once knew little about. My debut novel, "Pastors' Wives" (Plume/Penguin 2013), is about three very different women married to pastors at a Southern evangelical megachurch--the kind with the Jumbotrons and the power band. It was inspired by an article I wrote while I was a staff
More about Lisa Takeuchi Cullen...
Pastors' Wives

Share This Book