The Undertaker's Daughter by Kate Mayfield

The Undertaker's Daughter

What if the place you called 'home' happened to be a funeral home? Kate Mayfield explores what it meant to be the daughter of a small-town undertaker in this fascinating memoir evocative of Six Feet Under and The Help, with a hint of Mary Roach's Stiff.The first time I touched a dead person, I was too short to reach into the casket, so my father picked me up and I leaned in for that first, empty, cold touch. It was thrilling, because it was an un...

Details The Undertaker's Daughter

TitleThe Undertaker's Daughter
Release DateJan 13th, 2015
PublisherGallery Books
Number of pages350 pages
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Death, Biography

Reviews The Undertaker's Daughter

  • Elyse
    4.6 Rating!!! I found it hard to pull myself away from the many 'varieties' of stories taking place within these pages. Can you imagine what your childhood might have been like had 'you' been born into a family death business? What questions might you ask your parents? What might you try to hide? How to handle jokes by other children at school? Kate vividly conjures up the Mayfield family household....Father, Mother, and siblings Evelyn, Thomas, ...
  • ☮Karen
    The Undertaker's Daughter is the author Kate Mayfield, and we first meet her as a little girl. She lives with her siblings and parents above the funeral home that her father Frank owns in Jubilee, Kentucky; and these are her memories of what that was like for her-- socially, psychologically, emotionally. I was particularly drawn to this true story because in the same era as this book takes place, the 60s and 70s, my mother and I had friends who l...
  • Susan
    This memoir tells of Kate Mayfield’s life in a small Southern town in the Sixties. Jubilee, Kentucky was still, to all intents and purposes, a segregated town when Frank Mayfield moved his family there and set up his new business. Mother Lily Tate longed for acceptance and a fresh start in her marriage. For, like all families, the Mayfield’s had secrets. Father Frank was a dandy; a flirtatious and sociable man, who led grieving families throu...
  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    The Undertaker's Daughter is a memoir by Kate Mayfield whose family owned and operated a funeral home in Jubilee, a small town on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, from the 1960's to the late 1970's. Kate and her family, her parents Lily and Frank and siblings Thomas, Evelyn and Jemma, lived above the business, housed on the ground floor of their home. As a young child Kate had the run of the place, though she was required to tiptoe around th...
  • Rebecca Foster
    Mayfield’s father ran one of the three funeral homes in the small town of Jubilee, Kentucky in the 1960s and 70s. “I wondered why my father chose to wake up every morning to take care of dead people.” Mayfield only discovered after his death that he’d come back from World War II service with PTSD; this, combined with his brother’s death in the war, influenced his decision to become an undertaker. He was a consummate professional and a n...
  • Emma Flanagan
    I've said it before, I don't generally read non-fiction. Out of the 60 odd books I've read this year, I think might only be my second non-fiction book. I was persuaded to read this for my bookclub, demonstrating for me the benefit of a bookclub as I never would have picked this up otherwise. This is they story of Kate Mayfield, who grew up in a small town in America's south during the 1960's as the daughter of an undertaker. The various blurb's I...
  • Carmen Blankenship
    The Undertaker's Daughter is a well written memoir of growing up in the small Southern town of Jubelee as much as it is about growing up in a Funeral home. The reason the memoir works is because I really liked Kate. For some reason I kept comparing her to Veda from the movie My Girl. She is a spunky girl growing up during a tough time for the South and to make it more challenging, she is raised around the ceremony of death. While it may seem morb...
  • Laurie - The Baking Bookworm
    Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.My Review: In this memoir, Kate Mayfield writes honestly about her life growing up in an unusual setting: a funeral home. Her family life is definitely not ordinary and you feel for her as she tries to navigate within her familial dysfunction, her unique living situation and life in small tow...
  • Rumeur
    Wonderfully written, delightfully descriptive & a "Must Read"!This is a memoir told through the experiences of one of Frank Mayfield's daughters, as she grew through the years living above Mayfield & Son Funeral Home in a small town of Kentucky named JubileeThe time period is mainly the 60's & 70's where Kate is enamored with most aspects of her father's business. She uses so many wonderfully descriptive adjectives that the reader feels like an o...
  • Angela Buckley
    The Undertaker’s Daughter is an utterly absorbing and deeply moving book recounting Kate Mayfield’s childhood experiences in Jubilee, Kentucky where her father, Frank, opened a funeral parlour. This powerful and thought-provoking memoir follows the fortunes of the Mayfield family as they adapt to their new small-town life, amid local gossip, the challenges of segregation and the ever-present hostility of the ‘Old Clansmen’. The ‘charact...
  • Cassie
    This book was recommended to me by my grandmother and by a good friend of hers. My grandmother's friend has worked in funeral homes all her life as the beautician. This book took place in my hometown of Kentucky-Owensboro, which the author changed to Jubilee. The author of course changed names of towns and buildings. I enjoyed the way the author told this story. Each chapter was told in a way that kept the reader interested in her life growing up...
  • Winter Sophia Rose
    Fascinating & Compelling! A Beautiful Read!
  • Ian Wood
    This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either wor...
  • Sara
    The Undertaker's Daughter seems to be another one of those books that I just didn't quite get, as it seems that my opinion is greatly different from that of everybody else. At the time of writing my review, the book has a solid 4-star average, with nearly everybody making glowing comments on the lovely writing style, the depth of the characters, the riveting plot, and how difficult it was to put this book down. It's been awhile since I felt so di...
  • Brooke
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I thought going into this book that I would really like it. I didn't. In fact, I really disliked it and hurried through it so I could finally be done with it. If you like your memoirs self-indulgent and full of privilege, here you go. If you wanted The Help with more death, this is definitely the book for you.Here's what got me so irritated.(view spoiler)[ Dialect. Ugh. Dialect ...
  • Bruce Gargoyle
    Full review at http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress... (Jan 8)I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.Ten Second Synopsis:Kate grows up among the corpses of her town's residents during a turbulent time of social change.This was a bit of a hot-and-cold read for me. There were some bits during which I felt really interested and engaged, and there were some bits that I could take or leave. On reflection, this is qui...
  • Paul Pessolano
    “The Undertaker’s Daughter” by Kate Mayfield, published by Gallery Books.Category – Memoir Publication Date – January 131, 2015I went to school with a girl whose father was an undertaker and she lived above the funeral parlor. I often wondered how she could live there sleeping above dead people, for me it had to be creepy and scary.Kate Mayfield’s father was an undertaker and her family lived above the funeral home. Kate not only live...
  • Brooke
    My review is going to be the polar opposite to many of those already available to read. I don’t wonder if I missed the point as I don’t know there was much of a point to be made.This book is strangely unsettling and not simply because Mayfield was raised in a funeral home. What unnerved me was the way she wrote about her family. Mayfield is very open when describing her relationship with her parents and her sisters and this is to be expected ...
  • Victoria (RedsCat)
    Funeral homes have always been fascinating to me. In the small-town where I grew up, I especially remember the one (it might have been the only one) which had the beautiful fountain in front. It seems that every few months someone put dish soap in the fountain so it would bubble and sparkle. And I was completely amazed that a family actually lived in the funeral home. But I didn't know them, and I didn't know what it was like to live there.In Kat...
  • Ionia
    This is a lot more interesting than your standard memoir. This book reads easily and at times more like a novel than an account of a person's own life experiences. I liked the honest way the author approached this. I could imagine myself as a child, being told to be quiet all the time and trying to obey the rules--finding it nearly impossible and could sympathise with the author. Growing up in a home where the family business is also conducted is...
  • Kelly
    Many thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold Pocket Books for a copy of this book to review in exchange for an honest opinion.This lovely memoir is the story of Kate Mayfield, daughter of an undertaker in Jubilee, Kentucky in the 1960's and 1970's. It paints a vivid picture of the interesting life of a young girl living in a funeral home. It also covers so much more than that. The book delves into so many other topics; race relations in the So...
  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    What if the place you called 'home' happened to be a funeral home? Kate Mayfield explores what it meant to be the daughter of a small-town undertaker in this fascinating memoir. The first time I touched a dead person, I was too short to reach into the casket, so my father picked me up and I leaned in for that first, empty, cold touch. It was thrilling, because it was an unthinkable act.In The Undertaker's Daughter, Kate has written an interesting...
  • Debbie Krenzer
    This story was so about so many things. Growing up in the south, growing up in a funeral home, growing up during the 60's and 70's, growing up with an undiagnosed bi polar sister, living with a dad who suffered PTSD, and the list goes on. The writing was good and the stories were good. I truly enjoyed growing up with Kate, following her trials and tribulations. She grew up in my era and I could relate to a lot of what went on in her life. While I...
  • Linda
    An unusual and charming memoir!
  • Whitney Garrett
    If this book had ended after the first half, I would have given it 4 stars, and if I had rated it based on the second half, I would have given it 2. I really loved the first half. It was interesting to read about the author growing up in a funeral home, particularly as it takes place in my home state of Kentucky.The first half was what I expected it to be: about growing up in a funeral home in a small Southern town during the 50s-60s. The author ...
  • Karyl
    This definitely falls into the category of one of my favorite types of books. I adore memoirs written by people who aren't celebrities or notorious figures. Kate Mayfield is simply a little girl with an older brother and a sister, a mother, and a father -- who just happens to be the undertaker in a small town in Kentucky. She grew up in a funeral home, a place where the dead were made presentable and resided until they were interred, a place wher...
  • Jessica
    The Undertaker's Daughter starts with an evocative title and premise: a girl raised in a funeral home, surrounded by death and its trappings. Unfortunately, the story never quite lives up to the title's promise. As a memoir, it's pretty standard: grievances are revealed, dirty laundry is aired, sexual awakenings are detailed, family dynamics are outlined. The relationship between the author and her father is certainly central to the narrative, bu...
  • Linda Johnson
    One of my favorite books to read is a memoir and The Undertaker's Daughter was no exception. The main reason that I enjoyed this book so much is because I can relate to the author in many ways, growing up in the 60's and 70's, not being accepted in a small town and being somewhat rebellious because of it, all of the small town politics, having a family that isn't considered the "norm" (In my case my mother was married for a 2nd time through no fa...
  • Brandy
    It is always fascinating to read about how other people live (or have lived as the case may be). This particular period of time in American history (the 1960's, desegregation, the war, etc.) has broad appeal. Kate Mayfield has crafted for us an absorbing recollection of her life from the unique perspective of the funeral home. I requested a copy of this book from NetGalley, not realizing at the time that it was a Memoir. I received a free copy fo...