Nine Years Under
Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home
ISBN 9781101621769 | 272 pages | 30 May 2013 | Gotham Books | 18 - AND UP
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Six Feet Under meets The Wire in a dazzling and darkly comic memoir about coming-of-age in a black funeral home in Baltimore
Sheri Booker was only fifteen years old when she started working at Wylie’s Funeral Home in West Baltimore. She had no idea that her summer job would become nine years of immersion into a hidden world.
With AIDS and gang violence threatening to wipe out a generation of black men, Wylie’s was never short on business. As families came together to bury one of their own, Booker was privy to their most intimate moments of grief and despair. But along with the sadness, Booker encountered moments of dark humor: brawls between mistresses and widows, and long-winded preachers who forgot the names of the deceased. While she never got over her terror of the embalming room, Booker learned to expect the unexpected and to never, ever cry.
This vibrant tour of a macabre world reveals an urban funeral culture where photo-screened memorial t-shirts often replace suits and ties and the dead are sent off with a joint or a fifth of cognac. And like Fun Home and the books of Thomas Lynch, Nine Years Under offers readers an unbelievable glimpse into an industry in the backdrop of all our lives.
“A darkly comic memoir of life and death in urban America.”
—Booklist Starred Review
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