A Good Goodbye (or How To Die Well) By Gail Rubin

Book Review

Dec 20, 2011 by

Gail Rubin decided to write a book.  And, it wasn’t just any book.  It was about death.  How to plan for it, deal with it, and – most importantly – think about it.  When we met for coffee, she started by saying, “Talking (thinking) about death won’t kill you, just as talking about sex won’t make your pregnant.”  Hey, I like this woman.  Smart and a touch irreverent!

Gail is also a breast cancer survivor, so she’s been up close and personal with her own mortality.  As she notes in the book’s introduction, “Facing the thought of our death can help to better appreciate the reality of life.”

Her book, A Good Goodbye, Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, is a well-written, common sense guide to how to deal with death, yours and others.  Even you don’t plan a funeral, its chock-full of information you didn’t even know you needed (like, it’s not illegal to forego embalming, you can rent a casket, shipping/travel logistics, the pros and cons of pre-payment, and much more).

However, it’s all not gloom and despair. Quite the opposite.  Gail uses personal anecdotes, quotes and gentle humor to keep you moving right along.  The book, as much it can be, is a fun read.

“Drink and dance and laugh and lie, love the reeling midnight through, for tomorrow we will die (but alas we never do)!”  (A quote from the book, by Dorothy Parker, author, humorist, poet…and a lover of martinis)

Personally, I know I’m going to die. I just don’t believe it.  And, I love martinis…and a good bargain (stay with me here)…so chapter titles such as “It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To” and “I Got It At Costco” got my attention right away.  ≈

I’m also a proponent of making lists.  Gail provides, courtesy of French Mortuary, Fifty Things That Must Be Done When A Death Occurs.  Who would even think of (I wouldn’t) of #35, Planning funeral car list?    She seemingly has thought of everything, including another list – for party planning. (I’d add martini glasses to the list…)

And then there are those pesky “What Ifs.” Gail covers those too. Amazing how much she’s fit into less than 200 pages.  What if someone dies without a will?  What if your family doesn’t want to carry out your funeral plans? What if someone dies and “it’s complicated” etc.

“Many people take no care of their money til they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Gails’ book doesn’t cost much or take much time.  But, it should be on your bookshelf for ready reference.  Now, I’ve got to go do some planning of my own. (I want a BIG party, friends! Pour a ‘tooni and put in front of my urn, thanks!)

P.S. Yes, you can buy caskets and urns at Costco.com.

Bloggy Disclaimer: Gail Rubin kindly comped a copy of her book to All The Single Girlfriends.  However, all opinions are 100% those of Gf author Mary Schmidt


About the Author

Mary Schmidt Has Written 26 Articles For Us!

Mary is a proud Corporate America refugee, having long ago decided that quality of life is far more important than quantity of stuff. However, that said, she thinks money is a very good thing - when used as a tool, not a success measurement. In addition to writing for us, she blogs about business development and marketing at www.maryschmidt.com and about marketing to and by women at www.lipsticking.com. In her consulting business, her clients have ranged from mega-corps such as Hewlett-Packard to local Mom & Pops.
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  1. A Good Goodbye Book Reviews « The Family Plot Blog: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die - [...] Here’s an excerpt from Mary Schmidt’s review at AllTheSingleGirlfriends.com: [...]

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