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Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Death
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Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Death

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  15 reviews
There’s nothing funny about dying … or is there? Malachy McCourt, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and 22 more share hilarious and moving stories of confronting death. Exit Laughing makes death more approachable as it reveals the funny side of “passing on.” As painful as it is to lose a loved one, Exit Laughing shows us that in times of grief, humor can help us with coping and even hea ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by North Atlantic Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I’d love to be able to thank the person who recommended Victoria Zacheim’s Exit Laughing: how Humor Take the Sting Out of Death but I can’t remember where I heard about this. I have read several books on death and dying in recent years and I think this was a recommendation from one of those authors. I read this slowly, a story or two at a time, over several months, savoring each and giving them time for contemplation.

The collection consists of twenty-four personal stories and shares the experie
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Diane, Jan F., Scott
Recommended to Doreen by: Carol
The stories are all about death, but most have quirky, humorous anecdotes. For a subject as serious, melancholy, and sometimes gruesome, as death can be, there is certainly plenty of humor within these pages. This book proves that laughter is appropriate, even under the saddest and most final of circumstances. Thank you to Carol for recommending this book AND for giving me her copy to read! I will pass it on.
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It just seems wrong to enjoy a book about death as much as I enjoyed Exit Laughing edited by Victoria Zackheim. The authors wrote true short stories about the death of someone meaningful in their life. All of the authors were authors I knew or authors I will want to know. There were short bios at the end of the book which aided in this-many of these authors I am going to want to look up and read further. I admired all of the contributors for sharing often private, intimate moments. The subtitle ...more
Donna Blinston
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Victora Zackheim shares true stories from some of our country’s finest authors, including Malachy McCourt, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Barbara Graham, Ellen Sussman, and so many others. Exit Laughing makes death more approachable as it reveals the funny side of “passing on.” As painful as it is to lose a loved one, Exit Laughing shows us that in times of grief, humour can help us with coping and even healing. Exit Laughing is beautifully written, giving the reader permission to laugh and allowing them t ...more
Jennifer Simpson
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grief-literature
I picked this book up looking for essays to use in a class I was teaching on Writing Grief. I found several essays that I enjoyed in this book that I was able to use, and one I could not use, but that is because each time I read an excerpt to someone, or even recounted the story, I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face. In fact, I don't even know if I can type "Kitty...Mimi" without laughing. Not all of the essays were gut-achingly funny,some only offered a chuckle or two, but overall ...more
Mary Stanik
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful collection of stories by mostly famous writers. The tales told by Jacquelyn Mitchard (a visit to a state mental institution following the death of her young husband), Barbara Abercrombie (unexpected love for an unexpected near stepfather) and Dianne Rinehart (a father's unexpected death after finally finding love and happiness after years of abuse from her unhappy mother) make the book. Recommended for all, whether you've lost someone close to you (yet) or not. ...more
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever found yourself laughing before, during or after a funeral? This is black humor, which helps us endure in despairing times. Enjoy these 24 short stories of humor in the midst of grief!
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
An empathetic mirror in which to reflect the grief, sadness and anger associated with death.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Like so many anthologies, a mixed bag. The occasional genuinely funny vignette is overwhelmed by a surfeit of sentimental but not hilarious memoirs of late-middle-age Jewish women coming to terms with fraught relationships during their mothers' final illnesses.

I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes about the deaths of Cleavon Little and Jessica Mitford; but I did not close the book having learned anything new about death or humor, much less the long-denied but clearly extant intersection between
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These essays read like a novel. I found them especially helpful as I have buried both of my parents and it was interesting to see how others handled the situation. Most of the essays left me a little teary but two or three had me laughing out loud. (I live alone and to quote my mom, "What would the neighbors say?") ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
My family & I are big advocates of using humor to cope. I find it especially interesting that I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway right after my dad died. I recommend this book be read a few stories at a time, rather than sit down and read all at once, as I found some of the stories & personalities started to run together in my mind if I read too many in a row. If I were to rate the stories individually, they would run the whole scale from 1 - 5 stars, as some of them I had to skim ...more
Greta Macionytė
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Yra toks posakis „Laugh is the best medicine“. V. Zackheim sudaryta istorijų rinktinė siūlo į artimųjų netektį pažvelgti su trupučiu humoro. Šmaikštūs įvairių autorių pasakojimai apie jų netektis parodo, kad linksmas požiūris gelbsti bandant susitaikyti su artimųjų mirtimi. Turbūt dėlto dažnai kažko netekus visi bando dalintis smagiais prisiminimais. Knygą rekomenduočiau dėl pačios idėjos ir skleidžiamo požiūrio į mirtį.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I think the topic is an excellent one, but I didn't really find it funny as some supposedly did. There were moments of irony and absurdity (of sorts), but not the "laugh out loud" experience I was expecting. The selections - some excellent, some so-so, which of course, is often the case with anthologies. Having spent time with my mother when she was dying, I can say that the things that were recounted were very real - and for that I give it three stars. ...more
Laura Siegel
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
It seems strange to say there can be humor in death but I've found this true myself (more after the fact.) These authors tell such personal, poignant, and yes funny accounts. At first I jotted down names of the authors whose stories I really loved, but before long I realized that was most of them. I was particularly delighted see Starhawk included in this wonderful collection. ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm not sure what I was expecting here but I can say I don't think I found it. Perhaps this just wasn't the right time to read a book of this nature. Awww, well. ...more
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Victoria Zackheim is the author of the novel, The Bone Weaver, and editor of six anthologies, the most recent being FAITH: Essays From Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists. Her screenplay, Maidstone, a feature film, is in development, as are her theater plays The Other Woman and Entangled. Victoria also writes documentary films and teaches creative nonfiction (Personal Essay) in the UCLA Extension W ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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