Shanna Riley February 29th, 2008
One of the first draws I had to One Foot in the Grave: Secrets of a Cemetery Sexton by Chad Daybell was a review by none other than Find A Grave founder, Jim Tipton.
Finally, a book that glibly exposes the often funny, always poignant truth behind the life of an undertaker.
Touche. Daybell writes about his tenure as cemetery sexton for the local burial grounds of a small community in Utah nestled in the Rocky Mountains. In his five years as sexton, and preceding two years as a part time worker there, Daybell experienced a number of interesting, quirky, and usually fascinating occurrences. It's hard to tell which stories were more strange - those involving the living or those involving the dearly departed!
You'll find anecdotes of both in Daybell's charming and frank expose on the life of a dedicated cemetery worker. I often found myself shaking my head in disbelief or laughing right out loud at some of the bizarre tales Daybell shared about kooky people and restless spirits. Some of his tales are touching, while others are outright scary (I'll admit to a number of chills, and I'm fairly unshakable).
I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through a cemetery worker's life, and the trials, tribulations, ups and downs, scares and smiles that go along with it. Daybell's website's blurb about the book, "This is a collection of true graveyard stories you won't be able to put down", is not false advertising in the least. I read it in one sitting - often pausing to re-read, aloud, some of the wilder passages to my boyfriend.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys learning about the goings-on of graveyards or is interested in what it's actually like to work in a cemetery. Daybell also goes about quashing some age-old myths about burial grounds and provides a wealth of information that even I, a seasoned cemetery-lover, was unaware of. Case in point - even I was surprised to learn that rowdy teenagers nor cantankerous spirits were to blame for the repeated disappearance of grave flowers, trinkets, and statues.
Curious? That and so much more awaits you in this fun and frank work. Daybell writes in an effortless, outright, friendly manner - I often felt I was listening to an old friend regaling me with tales about his job while we shared laughs over a cup of tea. It was one of those books that you feel disappointed to finish - wishing there were still more stories and more time to spend with the author who has been entertaining you for the last few hours.
Grab your copy of One Foot in the Grave today and spend some time getting to know Chad Daybell and learn about his delightful and forever-interesting job as cemetery sexton. You'll be glad you did.