This is an unlikely and wonderful memoir. Sheri Booker proposes boldly that she work for Mr. Wylie at his funeral home one summer, and it turns into a nine-year experience. In that time, Booker grows up – from teen to young woman – learning the intricacies of the funeral home business in a city (Baltimore) that is not shy of customers. Booker’s account is fearless. Her descriptions of her increasing immersion in all the details of running the funeral home as she flirts with Mr. Wylie’s son and deals with her own mother’s terminal illness are both charming and insightful. She works inside out, using her experience to offer observations on Baltimore’s violence and the historical role of the African-American undertaker. Along the way, we see the growth of her interest in writing and storytelling. It takes true talent to make the death business so, well, human. The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that it ended. I want to know what happens next.

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