I was excited to read Talking About Death Won’t Kill You because I’m one of those weird people who is fascinated by death, the psychology of people around death, and I do think that death is one of those things that is just brushed under the table in Western society. Not a lot of people talk about death and even less people know how to discuss it when it’s creeping up on someone’s doorstep.
When I had the chance to review this book, I thought it would be great. I’d be able to read about death from the perspective of someone who teaches people how to handle death and the process leading up to it. How cool is that! Unfortunately, I felt that while the ideas were there, the execution wasn’t the best.
I found a lot of the information in the book repetitive. In the first couple of pages the author explains that she teaches this undergrad course and then a couple of pages later, explains the exact same thing. Small things like that happened throughout and made it a little hard for me to stay engaged, as I’d find myself starting to skim.
If you can get past that, though, the book is pretty interesting. It touches on all the important aspects of talking about death – talking about it at work, telling your children. I was super interested to read chapter 9 – Posting, Tweeting, & Texting – Dying in a Digital World. Living in a digital world has drastically changed how you find out about death, how you talk about it, and even how people who have died are remembered. This chapter especially was full of useful tips on how to manage this new world. It made me more aware of what I’m sharing and how I’d be remembered if I passed suddenly (I say this as I knock on some wood).
All in all, Talking About Death Won’t Kill You was a neat little book. Was it my favourite? No. But I did learn some things about how to handle the process of dying that I didn’t know before and it’s made me think about death in a different manner.