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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on September 4, 2005
No pun intended, this short (144-page) journey through funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematoriums with side trips to probate lawyers, casket-makers, astrologers, and stone-cutters (among others) is truly an underground classic and a MUST-READ for baby-boomers. Once you start talking about it, you will be surprised how many of your contemporaries have read it. Matson doesn't have all the answers, but he raises thought-provoking questions about dying (and what happens next) in a manner which will bring a smile to your face while enlightening you about things you never thought about, much less knew--although you will quickly sense that you DO need to think about them and DO need to know about them.
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on June 10, 2006
A compelling look at death and the funeral industry. It's extremely well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.
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on January 30, 2002
Very enjoyable and easy to read, you'll feel like you're riding right beside Tim Matson the entire ride. I read this book in one evening (couldn't put it down). A suprise ending that befits its title! Good work.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon April 17, 2012
This is the strangest 'dead' book because the first time I read it it made me glad I was alive, but also brought up a lot of issues we should all think about and questions we need answers to. It records a year long oddysey that takes a hard look at the funeral industry an dthe process of the death. A recent reread made me feel the same way though I am presumably fairly well-informed about the the last frontier. While it has a lot of and information in what I consider a small book (less than 150 pages), it undeniably puts the focus on death because for all of us the meter is ticking and it's like taxes; you can run but you can't hide because it will surely get you just like the IRS.
This is a clever and informative book that is a must read.
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on April 13, 2008
It is a rare day when you remove a treasured book from the bookcase and sit down, with memories flooding back, to re-read a prized possession. Today I had the time to once again enjoy Tim Matson's engaging exploration of a "Round-Trip to Deadsville" written in anticipation of his own demise. His trip into the future examines what he will do with the shell that is his body when he leaves this earth.

In the concluding paragaph of his chapter called "The Astrologer" Matson says: "I still don't want to know when I'm going to die. But it's comforting to think that if the day has already been determined, there's not a thing I can do about it."

With chapters named such things as "The Coffin Maker", "The Gravedigger" and "The Cremator" a reader might think that this small, 146-page book will be very depressing. It is not! Matson succeeds in introducing humour into this dreary subject by examining his own feelings as he educates his readers about life, death and what to do with one's body when life ends.

Toward the end of the book when he leaves the Cremator he tells us "I pull off the Interstate at the next exit, find a Quick Stop and buy a beer. The hardest part of this whole thing is giving up the attachment to my body. Making plans to drop my corpse in a hole in the ground or incinerate it in an oven feels like treason. Maybe I should think of it as if I'm being....fired. But it's a job I hate to lose."

Ten pages later the author comes to the conclusion that "As the Stone Carver said, the hard part's not the dying, it's the living. The fear of death I was hoping to overcome was part of a larger fear that had crept up on me, a fear of life. It was the weight of fifty years of hard living, booze, divorce, and dreams that would never come true....But I knew I hadn't felt so alive in years, making my funeral plans." It is that kind of honesty that makes the reader feel the value of this book.

This volume is a treasure to keep and pass on to your children. It will give them the wisdom to endure sad times with inner strength. But long before that time comes have them follow the advice Matson provides in the book's concluding chapter:

"But it's really a time of celebrating the astonishing fact of being alive, not dead, and bragging like hell about it. Forget the sanctimoniuos humility and the trembling fear of death. Get drunk, get laid, revel in being on the right side of the grass. As Ethan Allen said, 'Goddamn 'em, let the angels wait'."

As you close this tiny treasure enjoy the wonderful picture of Tim Matson on the inside back flap of the book's jacket. It is the craggy face of the writer framed by a mop of white hair. It reminds one of Clint Eastwood, after he got old enough to be sexy.
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on December 20, 2007
This book raises the key questions about the Funeral Industry.
It was very instrumental in my changing careers and becoming a funeral director. It is quite an exciting journey and the author gives you an exiting ride to deadsville and back. The book needs an update and that is why there are only four stars. Several years ago it met my needs, and answered a lot of questions. It is a book I would still purchase today, but is not the first book on funerals I would recomend. It is very descriptive and I especially enjoyed the section on Casket making.

yourfuneralGuy, Funeral Director.
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on October 18, 2011
If there is something about Halloween that stirs in your blood and makes you break out into joyful sweats, read this. And if there isn't you will probably like it anyway.
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on October 3, 2000
This wonderfully humorous book will open your eyes to the underworld. You'll never think about dying the same way again. All the important stops in the nowadays astonishingly complicated process of getting yourself underground are visited and at the end leave you wanting more... Enjoy the read, Matson does a fabolous job of drawing you into an eerie subject.
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