Review: Cause of Death, several authors

“Face it. We can go anytime. But in so many different ways!” (3 stars)

Poor death, so misunderstood. We feel bad for dying patients when ultimately we are just as dead as they are. Doctors talk about saving lives, when they are actually just delaying death a bit. I always found it strange how talking about our inevitable fate is often considered morbid and taboo.

I appreciated how Cause of Death it treats this dark theme with humor. The book is a compilation of curious statistics of death in the United States and the world. It is divided in chapters like cancer, vascular diseases, hormones, bugs, war, starvation, murder, etc. As you can see, it is the perfect gift for that hypochondriac aunt of yours.

I enjoyed a lot the boxes of curious historical deaths. Like literal “fashion victim” Isadora Duncan, suffocated by her long flowing scarf when it became entangled in the back wheel of her roadster. There are several other weird ways people have died, but perhaps my favorite was martial arts teacher Tran Quoc Dong’s, the world’s only known fatal victim of karaoke, electrocuted by his microphone while singing in 2003.

I was very impressed by the Big Cats section. I had no idea tigers and lions killed – and still kill to this day – so many people. Cancer statistics are also good to scare smokers. A friend of mine stopped smoking after I nagged him reciting a few passages. Another curious fact is that Cause of Death has a brief introduction by George Lucas. You know, of Star Wars fame.

I did miss a bit more in-depth information, but that would contain the broad scope of the book. As it is, Cause of Death is good guide for the curious or perhaps writers trying to find creative ways to kill their darlings.

Guilherme Solari is a Brazilian writer and journalist from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has written about movies, literature and videogames for some of Brazil’s biggest news sites. He is the author of THE CASCAVEL CHRONICLES, a love letter to 80's action movies, as well as the cyberpunk CYBERSAMPA series.