Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.95
  • Save: $5.32 (33%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Curtains: Adventures of a... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: ** Withdrawn, xtra-well-cared-for library copy in plastic film cover protector. ** But for the usual library distinctions, book is clean, tight, unmarked & basically like new condition. ** Buy with confidence. Thousands sold! ** Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver / Prime Shipping offer, 100% Satisfaction! ** Think GREEN! Go Used!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training Paperback – March 23, 2010


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$10.63
$7.79 $2.93
$10.63 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training + Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt + Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked?: Field Notes from a Funeral Director
Price for all three: $34.30

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306818914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306818912
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A CBC journalist in Winnepeg taking "a month's leave to dabble in deathcare" reveals the changing face of the funeral industry in this informative but rote tour of duty, an update of sorts on Jessica Mitford's 1963 The American Way of Death. On his first day as an intern at the Winnepeg crematorium run by Neil Bardal, the undertaker tells him that "the traditional funeral is gone and it's never coming back"; the bereft world has embraced cremation, with specific impact on a number of industry segments, from vehicles and florists to tombstones and caskets. Jokinen is nonchalantly graphic when getting into the day-to-day of cremation ("I dump the pan of bones onto the steel table and crunch through it with the heavy magnet"), touching on juvenile at times, but makes the point in many ways that, eventually, we'll all be paying for this industry's changes. The industry's big bet is that 75 million North American baby boomers, afraid of death, will want unprecedented control over their funerals, illustrated in examples like a successful Milwaukee funeral home owner who calls Ritz-Carlton and Disney his models. Readers who understand that Joniken took on the role of apprentice undertaker for one reason (they're reading it) will find an interesting glimpse into an almost-invisible industry, and the forces pushing it in strange new directions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Jokinen’s wry observations on and revelations about mortality and the industry it has engendered evoke a youthful adventure into the unknown—not only the philosophical mystery of death but also the “black hole” between the last breath and the reappearance at funeral or cemetery, in casket or urn, the period that, Jokinen says, “people pay us to keep to ourselves.” Quitting his job at 44, Jokinen was transformed into a “death fairy” by apprenticing for a year with a third-generation undertaker. Fear became respect and awe for the body as he performed grunt work, took notes, and explored rituals and traditions that were morphing into Disney-themed options. Recounting his experiences, he delivers ironic dialogue with stand-up skill and smoothly integrates technical information (“Formaldehyde changes the structure of the body’s protein, . . . making it inhospitable to the bacteria of decomposition”) and market data (“‘Celebration of life’ cremations instead of burial funerals will account for 59% of the industry by 2025”) without hindering the flow of readable insights. --Whitney Scott

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I liked the ease of the writer's style.
K. LaDow
I read a lot of books about funeral customs and practices, I read Mitford's book, I read "Stiff" by Mary Roach.
Readhead13
Also, it asks good questions about what we should be doing with our dead.
budda

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By C. LaPlante on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like the tv show "Dirty Jobs", there are some jobs only a select few can do. The funeral industry is one of them. Imagine you (a regular person) are suddenly dropped into a funeral home to be an apprentice. "Curtains: Adventures of an Undertaker-in-Training" is that book. It's one of those "I want to know/I don't want to know" situations but the book is fascinating. It will get you thinking about death, life and the meaning of it all. Tom Jokinen's observations are right on the money and reflect what, I think, I would feel if placed in the same situation. An unusual topic but a page turner nevertheless.
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. P. Anderson on August 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is okay. It's a quick read, covers a fascinating topic, is well written, has a few interesting insights, and is amusing in places.

Unfortunately, it's like a ton of other similar books out there. I didn't find anything in this one that would be any better or worse than all those other books that you'll see under Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, What Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item, and so on. If you've never read one of these before, great. You'll enjoy it. If you have, though (like me), you'll probably feel like you've already read it before.

It's basically an outsider's take on a fascinating "dirty job." Now, that includes some dark humor, some scattered musings, some interesting tidbits, and one (not-all-that-closely-related) vignette after another. It's kind of a like an extended magazine article, or maybe a series of magazine articles hooked loosely together.

What it's lacking is any real story line, depth in the musings, or feel for the characters. If that's what you're after, let me recommend, perhaps, In the Land of Long Fingernails: A Gravedigger in the Age of Aquarius. Forgive the pun, but Curtains, like a bad grave, was just a little too shallow for me.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. N. Erickson on June 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I work in the industry and must say that Jokinen did a fabulous job with the details! A little wordy at times, but I enjoyed it very much! There is a lot of information to cover when writing about the Death Care industry and he covered a lot of ground in a short amount of pages. Awesome job! I've passed the book on at work to see what my co-workers thought and I haven't seen the book since!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary M. Woodsen on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kudos to Tom Jokinen. (I'm sooo envious of his writerly chops.) As founding prez of Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, now research director with the Green Burial Council of North America (and no, neither was on my bucket list), I gotta say -- Tom's nailed it. I took Curtains out of a university library that lets you keep a book for a year (unless someone recalls it), yet a half hour into it had ordered my Kindle edition because I needed to mark it up and wasn't about to stop reading. Even the philosophizing didn't wear me down. I recommend it highly. (Don't know about that reviewer who said he's no Mary Roach. Mary Roach is Mary Roach -- amazing. Tom Jokinen is Tom Jokinen -- equally amazing.)
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By myfunnyvalentine on February 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't stop reading this! I was a bit suspicious of this book, as some of the 'death books' out there are a little on the creepy side, somewhat exploitative. They're badly written, and feel like they've just been cranked out to fill a voyeuristic need. But this author, Tom Jokinen, is a guy who is curious about a lot of the same things I am. And he can write! I find myself laughing every other page. He presents individual people in the funeral industry sympathetically for the most part, while at the same time is pretty cynical about the business as a whole. Jesssica Mitford would get a kick out of it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Wong VINE VOICE on May 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
'Curtains' by Tom Jokinen is a very engrossing book. I had read Jessica Mitford's 'American Way of Death' in 1987 and wondered what more could he say. He covered some subjects that were not in Jessica Mitford's book and I felt that learned a lot.

Tom Jokinen quit his job as a radio producer to find out what it is like to be an undertaker in training. The two first things that he learned were:

1. Make sure that you are picking up the right body at the "silver doors". They were silver; the doors to the morgue were just called that.
2. Don't stop for food on the way back.

This book is filled with humor, some of it was gallows humor, but at the same time recognizing that it may be too much for the reader. He was very courteous to the reader. I enjoyed his conversational tone and the telling of the trepidations that the author faced some of the situation, like embalming. Now I know why some people look better embalmed than when they were alive. The embalming process did give me chills and I know that I do not want that for myself when I die.

He dug in deep in the culture of the funeral home, the traditional and the quick cremations centers and some very nontraditional ceremonies. With the revealing information in the American Way of Death, there have been fewer traditional funerals, resulting in less need for undertakers, embalmers, florists and casket makers.

The jargon of undertaking is a lesson in itself and it is deeply influenced by the type of funeral.

He explored the different kinds of funerals from those done in Las Vegas, Mennonite and Jewish. I was very interested in the Mennonite funeral since my mother's father's family was largely Mennonites.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?