Something for the weekend? Some good reading – and another book.

Fran Hall 5 Comments
Fran Hall


At GFG Towers we do like a good book, and recently we have indulged our book buying habit rather a lot – a pile of our recent acquisitions is shown above, all thoroughly well worth a read for anyone with an interest in dying and death. 

Last week, our attention was drawn to another recently published book, written by a celebrant, entitled ‘HOW TO HAVE THE FUNERAL SERVICE YOU WANT..? ‘And How A Celebrant Can Help’. Sounds interesting, we thought. And according to a couple of fulsome 5 star reviews on Amazon, it’s just the ticket.

But it’s not great. It’s not even good. How can we put this without sounding rude? It’s dreadful.

One of the first duties of a celebrant charged with the responsibility of writing a funeral ceremony for a bereaved family has to be accuracy – of content, spelling, grammar and syntax. So it is surely not unreasonable to expect that a book written by a celebrant about celebrancy should be a shining example of the beautiful use of language.

This one isn’t.

We’d love to show some examples of Ms Mewton’s work, of ‘grief’ and ‘funeral’ being spelled wrongly, for instance (pages 5 and 50) or of the frequency of unnecessary capital letters throughout sentences, the direct excerpts taken from the Death Cafe website and the frequent references to the opportunity to purchase her helpful Funeral Ceremony Wishes Planner, (also variously referred to as ‘Funeral Ceremony Wishes plan’, ‘Funeral Ceremony Wishes Plan’, ‘Funeral Ceremony Life Plan’ and ‘my visiting Funeral Ceremony Wishes planning service’) – but there is a stern warning at the front of the book prohibiting reproduction of any part of the publication. And we’re not keen on being sued.

We did, however, notice a fairly corruscating 1 star review of the book on Amazon which ends: ‘If I were a celebrant (or a Celebrant, as the author bestows the word a capital ‘C’ throughout the book, perhaps to emphasise how Very Important the role is) I would urgently be seeking a new job description. And if I were someone seeking guidance and advice ‘to help me have the funeral service I want’, I’d feel cheated.’

We found this review helpful. And told Amazon so.





  1. Fran Hall

    It’s fine and dandy to correct the spelling of ‘coruscating ‘, but the bigger point here is surely that the word itself is inappropriate: ‘excoriating ‘ has the meaning that was sought, I suspect.

  2. Fran Hall

    “excoriate (v.)
    early 15c., from Late Latin excoriatus, past participle of excoriare “flay, strip off the hide,” from Latin ex “out, out of, off” (see ex-) + corium “hide, skin” (see corium). Figurative sense of “denounce, censure” first recorded in English 1708. Related: Excoriated; excoriating.”
    “coruscate (v.)
    1705, from Latin coruscatus, past participle of coruscare “to vibrate, glitter,” perhaps from PIE *(s)ker- (2) “leap, jump about” (compare scherzo), but de Vaan considers this “a long shot.” Related: Coruscated; coruscating.”
    (both quotes from The Online Etymology Dictionary).

    I agree, Michael; a vibrating and glittering one-star review conjures images of an indoor firework, not of a skin lashing.

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