Living With the Dead

Taking a look at Kate Mayfield’s The Undertaker’s Daughter 


There were two funeral homes in my small Minnesotan hometown. Sturm Funeral Home is a single story business building that simply caters to funerals. Pease Funeral Home, on the other hand, was a house. As Kate Mayfield described living in a funeral home I imagined the Pease Funeral Home on Main Street. The living quarters upstairs and the funeral business on the main floor. Kate Mayfield’s experience was a unique one. She grew up there the first 15 years of her life and because of that everyone in her small southern town shied away from her and were fascinated by her.

The Undertaker’s Daughter is a memoir and while I don’t read many of them, this was an easy transition because it read like a novel. Kate Mayfield has a great writer’s voice and a unique story. At times she would get a little lost though. Something would distract her and she would wander off on a side story but she always came back. It’s natural to get side tracked when telling a story so I blame the editing more than I blame Kate.

Overall I really enjoyed it. It’s a unique perspective and it’s more fun knowing someone actually lived it. Did I mention it was unique?

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield was published January 13, 2015 by Gallery Books.

By Emily Coleman


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