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

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Cullen has created a humorous and poignant chronicle of her travels around the country to discover how Americans -- baby boomers, in particular -- are reinventing the rites of dying. What she discovered is that the people who reinvented youth, redefined careers, and reconceived middle age have created a new attitude toward the afterlife. They no longer want to take death l ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by HarperBusiness (first published 2006)
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Petra Eggs
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: death, 2013-reviews
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
...more
Amy
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
Judy Vasseur
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
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
...more
Anita
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-read
A lively tour of the new American way of death. Interesting and fun.
Tracey
Nov 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Carla
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I spent the better part of two years trying to rearrange my schedule so that I could go to mortuary school, and it just didn't work out for me. However, during that period of time, I became a bit obsessed with the wide range of options for individuals to prepare of their own deaths or to plan a loved one's disposition. I read about cryogenics and jumbo caskets and reefs made out of cremains, and I even settled on an option for myself: the increasingly popular green burial. For two years, I resea ...more
Danielle
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Ana
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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
...more
Loren
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morbid-books
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*
...more
Sherrie
Jul 18, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Pam
Oct 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Kari
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Kate
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: end-of-life
Journalist takes a Time article and expands into a book. Not philosophically deep, but deeply funny.
Rachel
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Perhaps not a fair review, as I didn't really finish the book, but about 1/2 way through just scanned and read the chapters that interested me, but that might say something about the book. I didn't think it was particularly well written. It didn't capture the attention well. The author wants to be journalistic, but at the same time interjects herself and her kid into the investigation all the time. The book offers nothing new: funerals are expensive, people have different cultural norms when it ...more
Michelle
May 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Chelsea
Aug 09, 2007 rated it liked 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.
April
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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."
Jennifer
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Nicole
Nov 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Les
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
innae
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Heather
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Laurie
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Maude
May 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
I wanted to read this book for awhile now. While reading it, I found myself wanting more. Maybe if I hadn't read "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", I wouldn't have minded her writing style, but the impersonal, removed way in which she approached the subject matter was not a lively tour.
Crystal
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Andrea
Jun 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jeanne
May 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: death-dying
entertaining but not as good as Grave Matters
Emily
Apr 03, 2016 added it
Could not actually finish it. :/
Susan Reed
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
good, interesting, fairly well written
Rhianna
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interesting and quirky
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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