From the back cover:
Who said the reaper has to be grim?
"As the product of a relatively normal American childhood, death was certainly a stranger to me for a long time. I know it existed, as I knew Africa existed. I just didn't think I'd ever go there. According to experts who like to ask kids such questions,children are aware of the basic existence of death very early, even as young as age 3. In those early years,however, death seems to have more to do with fear of abandonment, than fear of personal involvement. If one morning the family goldfish is doing an extremely slow backstroke on the surface of the tank, does that mean that next morning will we find Mommy stuck belly up to the ceiling of her bedroom, just because we fed her too much the night before? And if so, who's going to take me to get my new sneakers?"
Get ready to take a moving, fascinating,rollicking ride around the globe & across the styx with affable, middle-aged, everyman-guide Greg Palmer.
Like the PBS series of the same name this book is filled with the frightening, funny, poignant, and just plain weird.This delightfully different "travelogue" follows 1 man's quest to discover how people around the world cope with the incontrovertible fact of death. The result is a wise, witty, decidedly quirky celebration of how we all face life.
From Publishers Weekly:
"In this surprising, occasionally sobering but often lighthearted travelogue designed to accompany a PBS series, Palmer, a broadcaster, playwright and filmmaker, examines death images across the world, interviewing people or just poking around and examining horror books, cartoons and other entertainments. He notes the tranquil names often given to cemeteries, like the ubiquitous Pleasant Hill or Taiwan's Happy Peace Garden. In lively anecdotes, Palmer reports on the attitudes towards death declared by a Ghanaian witch doctor, a Buddhist priest, an AIDS hospice patient, the head of a cryonics foundation and a failed suicide. The author concludes by describing concepts of afterlife as held by religions, most of which promise some form of immortality."
From Library Journal:
"Not really psychology or anthropology per se, Palmer's book is a tour of such death-related places as a death theme park in Taiwan (the title of the book is a ride at the park), a burial in Ghana (where funerals are so lavish that families usually have to store the body in a morgue for several years while saving up for the wake), a cryonics facility, a funeral parlor in Florida that features a drive-up window, and more. While this title will not add much to a serious social sciences collection, it is quite interesting and entertaining. It is a companion volume to a PBS series that debuted in October."
An interesting sociological look at how various societies handle death. Written with humor and respect, Greg Palmer looks at cryopreservation, hospices, Day of the Dead, and other cultures to discover what death means to the peoples of the world.