Dee Branch Oliver is the widow of a funeral director, a funeral director in her own right, and quite the writer besides.
The Undertaker's Wife is divided into several parts, beginning with the Dee's single life and dating with Johnnie, the funeral director; their married life; Johnnie's death and the aftermath; ending with a serious talking-to regarding funeral plans and wills.
I really want to focus my review on the last part of the book. Dee brings the voice of reason, and the voice of experience to the how-to's she includes in her book. There are so many things we take on the fly or outright ignore in our lives that should be at the top of our attention lists. Dee gives very good advice about taking care of wills and final plans. My father's final plans were on the order of "you can't use these funeral homes, they made me mad," or, "my services will be on Saturday morning and the preacher can only speak for fifteen minutes...I want everyone to be able to be back home in time for lunch."
My mother, on the other hand, had a notebook where all of her last wishes were written down. Since Mama outlived Daddy by six years, it was easy to follow her wishes because it was all planned out.
Dee also gives very good advice about writing obituaries, it was simple to write the ones for my parents because the local newspaper only allowed a certain format and information to be included for the free obituary and that was all my parents would allow. That simple obit would fit me fine. I don't need it to be my biography. The only thing I need to do is to make my wishes known for any memorials for me.
The one thing I truly need to do is to get a will written and copied for my children.
Dee doesn't preach her instructions, but she makes her feelings well known. The humor in the first sections of the book offsets the seriousness of this last section of her book. It's like the hook to bring the reader in to the seriousness of what she has to say about the end of life, because she's seen it from the family's perspective and the funeral director's perspective.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a free ride in a hearse.
Zondervan provided this book in exchange for my honest review.