This reading group guide for The Undertaker’s Daughter includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kate Mayfield. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Introduction The Undertaker’s Daughter
offers a child’s account of the business of death. Kate grew up in a funeral home in southern Kentucky during the turbulent 1960s. Her father, the charismatic Beau Brummel of morticians, splashed onto Jubilee’s segregated community as one of its two white undertakers. A philanderer and a secret alcoholic in a small, God-fearing community, he opened the door of their funeral home to family feuds, fetishes, and victims of accidents, murder, and suicide. The living and the dead entered their house like a vapor, in ways that only the South can conjure. They were a community peppered with flawed characters who learned there are no secrets in a small town, except the ones with which we are buried. This stirring memoir reveals Kate’s extensive research into her father’s life and his time serving in Europe during World War II, including her discovery as to the touching reasons her father chose to become an undertaker. Topics & Questions