Book Review by Chris Phillips, March, 2010

Kalfel wrote and illustrated So You’re Cremated. He presents a very humorous look at a sometimes touchy subject; what to do when planning the reader’s funeral. From the title, it is obvious that Kalfel only discusses cremation in depth. The other methods of dealing with the remains of the dead are merely mentioned. The options of dealing with the ashes are thoroughly discussed.

With a delicate hand, Kalfel takes the reader through the process and expands on the theme of where to dispose or scatter or bury remains. With “You’ve Got Options,” Kalfel explains what is available and details how to make each method work to the reader’s satisfaction. Although to many this is a gruesome subject Kalfel handles it with enough humor to make it palatable.

The book is laid out logically with the 100 ways numbered for convenience. Interspersed with Kalfel’s illustrations the difficult subject matter is manageable. Throughout, 4 elements provide a poignant or light side to this discussion as well. In one of the “Did You Know” boxes the reader learns “Hunter Thompson (the free-wheeling intoxicant-fueled journalist) and Graham Chapman (of Monty Python fame) were scattered in fireworks displays.” “Quotable Quotes” break the reader away although most are not related to the discussion. “Final Gasps” are samples from deceased persons’ tombstones or memorials. Finally, he illustrates several tombstones with pithy epithets.

All in all the construction of the book and the use of the illustrations make for interesting reading while keeping the content relevant and useful. There is extensive supporting material starting with a Preface and continuing through two appendices with pages of useful and relevant information.

Kalfel ends the book quite well in the section “Okay, Just Forget About It” as option 105. The reader can find out for themselves what that option is.

This should be read by anyone that is looking for a few good chuckles and a lot of information. It may not convince anyone to be cremated, but it will help everyone to understand that it is viable and could be quite an ending for a life that needs just that last hurrah.

Dr. Patch Adams (January 2010)

I got the idea from Jesse’s book to use my ashes in a sculpture of my a** and when people pass by, it will f**t. This is my idea of Heaven!

Go Patch Adam’s web site for information about the great work he is doing:

The Baryon Review (October 2009)
Here are a couple of reviews of some very interesting books that I have just finished.Even if you have not made up your mind on what is to happen to your mortal remains, this is a volume that will give you some serious and often hilarious methods for your relatives to dispose of your remains.There are over one hundred ways for your ashes to be disposed. Besides the normal methods of being placed in an urn or being scattered over a favorite location, you can be launched into space, turned into a diamond, or perhaps a pink flamingo lawn ornament. Meatloaf, the singer, wants to be scattered over Yankee Stadium. Others want to be scattered at various National Parks and Monuments. One idea is to put them in a suitcase and leave it on a plane or bus and let someone else deal with the final determination of where the remains end up. I had already decided to be cremated as my parents were; but now I have a lot of new ideas for what happens afterward. There is also other information that you may find handy. There is also some trivia and interesting facts thrown in. Buy this for its useful content or just get it to leave on the coffee table to see what kind of conversations that might get started.
Reviewed by Barry Hunter.

As a psychologist who treats families and individuals, Kalfel has written a unique book about cremation and scattering ashes in a humorous style to address a timely topic for those people who face their own mortality and the loved ones who must share the experience with them. What strikes me most is that the book offers emotional comfort to the readers. For the person who is facing their death, the comfort takes the form of having a mental picture of what can happen to you after your passing. For example, the idea of being scattered in your favorite place or having your loved ones scatter you whenever they go on vacation can be meaningful and comforting for not only the person who is saying goodbye but also for those who remain.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Arbetter

Kudos to Mr. Kalfel for writing a book about a topic many other writers won’t touch. As a psychiatrist, I see people’s efforts to deny their mortality daily, and while this is natural, it is not healthy. This book sheds light and brings great wit to the topic of cremation. It is part history, part philosophy, and part comedy. Think Woody Allen as a main character in 6 feet under. You’ll laugh in the midst of darkness.

Dr. Daniel Carlat, MD

Jesse Kalfel takes us on a wild ride through the logistics of the afterlife. With death-defying humor, he gets us thinking outside the box – or, ah, the urn — about the ways to make our exits memorable and uplifting for the people we love. Informative, provocative, and highly entertaining, So You’re Cremated will change the way you think and feel about one of life’s most potentially creative rituals.

Elisabeth Brink, author of Save Your Own

This book has great advice and is very funny. I nearly died laughing but have to hold off until I change that will. A serious and funny gift for the person who has almost everything. Why not enjoy your afterlife while you can? A definite retirement party basket filler. Read this book, if it’s the last thing you do.

Dr. Edward Sorel

As a therapist who treats a geriatric population and their families — end-of-life issues are frequently discussed topics. What Kalfel offers is an engaging approach for people to orchestrate the way they want to be remembered. The author encourages readers to take charge of their “grand finale” by becoming their own creative director as he broaches a very difficult subject in an amusing book that is extremely readable and entertaining. No other book documents the many options you can choose to make a final statement that has real meaning.

Leslie Anne Joseph, LICSW