An unlikely source delivers a variety of life lessons.
In his nonfiction debut, Meyer draws on his 14 years as the owner of a funeral home in order to distill lessons about life he’s learned from people dealing with death. His experiences have sprawled all over the map: “I have seen horrific, absolutely horrific, things, smelled smells that are unimaginable, cried with friends and strangers, and witnessed unspeakable tragedy, heartache, and death all too often for one human being.” In fast-paced and involving chapters, the author mixes stories from his long experience of coping with grieving and personal vignettes to create a big picture view of the important things in life. He recounts winningly honest personal experiences, including, of course, the time he moved to Northern California and bought a funeral home. “In my eyes,” he reflects, “there is no greater time to grow and become strong than when you have no other option—the last resort.” He gives advice on 20 major turning points or elements in life, from loving your parents and falling in love to coping with heartache, encountering health setbacks, and enduring inevitable aging. He urges his readers to work hard to avoid boring rituals. “If your day becomes routine,” he writes simply, “your life will be shorter.” And he relates each of these turning points to a period in his own life or the experiences of his customers over the years at the funeral home. Many of these tales are touching and some are funny (for instance, the widow who wanted her professional clown husband to be buried in his clown suit). And all are followed by “Reminders,” key takeaway points like “Take risks”; “Without failure, how can you appreciate success?”; and “Your gut is the greatest barometer you will ever have.” Meyer’s approachable writing style guarantees that readers will be both moved and entertained.
A funeral director’s heartfelt, poignant, and vivid insights into what makes life worth living.