“Waugh takes a look at the american society through this dark, satyical glasses. Fun read.”Pedro M wrote this review Tuesday, November 2, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“confusing and wierd ”Nicole S wrote this review Thursday, September 16, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very British and sometimes boring, but it pulled through at the end. ”Shannon C wrote this review Wednesday, September 8, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A quirky and unexpected plotline - solid Waugh.”Mark Buswell wrote this review Friday, August 27, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Fun story. It's got the same sort of glamour that I remember from Brideshead Revisited, but in a smaller and more digestible package. It's full of silly little witticisms, irreverent humour, pomposity and macabre ritual. For the characters, appearance is much more important than substance. But as a reader there's plenty of depth to explore. If you like your humour cheeky and dark then this may well be for you.”Punxsutawney Paul wrote this review Thursday, August 12, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very interesting book. I watched the DVD and read the book both today.”IamRosebud wrote this review Saturday, July 24, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a dark comedy by a British author about life -- and especially death --in Southern California.
The novel was fun to read. I liked the way it starts, as if it's set in one of the British colonies in Africa or Asia, with the "native huts" and the "barbarians", and gradually reveals that it is talking about Hollywood. It gives a humorous -- but not entirely unreal -- sense of the ambivalent British attitude towards the U.S. as a primitive culture, on which they are nonetheless financially dependent. The British characters don't come off all that well, either -- they're only slightly more perceptive than the Americans, which isn't saying much.
The description of the Southern California funeral industry is hardly an exaggeration -- notice that the book is dedicated to Waugh's friend Nancy Mitford, whose younger sister Jessica wrote a nonfiction account 18 years later called The American Way of Death -- I looked this up to see which came first, thinking that the nonfiction work might have been the source, but maybe Waugh's satire was an inspiration for the later book.
The gullibility of the American characters, especially with regard to religion -- from Aimée Semple McPherson, to New Thought, to the "non-sectarian clergy" -- is funny and all too true. Aimée, the "Loved One", believes everything she is told; the expression "too stupid to live" comes to mind.
There are other little touches of satire here as well; just to mention two, the turn to "healthy movies" in deference to the Catholic League for Decency (which resulted in some of the most trivial output in Hollywood History) and the way Aimée calls Dennis "UnAmerican" because he's British.”
“I enjoyed reading this book. However, while I generally like to read novels by Evelyn Waugh, I found this particular story somewhat out of character. I do not get the impression that Waugh was very familiar with American culture. If Waugh is an excellent satirist, he is so because he can point out the foibles of his native culture. Somehow I do not feel that the satire of the funeral industry in Hollywood is successful. Perhaps the superficial nature of Hollywood makes it impossible to be surprised by the oddities and ironies that the characters experience in the novel.”Ben K wrote this review Sunday, July 18, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very funny, dark comedy about death and its commercialization. Compares well to the TV series "Six Feet Under" to give you an idea what I mean. ”bookkaddict wrote this review Thursday, July 15, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A dark humorous look at death and the process of dealing with death. One character works for a person funeral service and the other works for a pet cemetery. Personally I found the pet cemetery to be more honest and straight forward.”Marguerite M wrote this review Monday, November 14, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No