Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home.pdf
“Her revelations about the daily workings of a funeral home in a poor urban setting are transfixing.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A darkly comic memoir of life and death in urban America.”
—Booklist Starred Review
“Booker’s coming-of-age story set against the business of death is filled with both tragedy and humor, and is wholly compelling in its humanity.”
“Great literature and a powerful sense of humanity.”
—Baltimore City Paper
Booker’s “insider's story manages to uplift and turn a glimpse of the dark side into a bright reveal of humanity.”
Sheri Booker is a writer, poet, spoken-word artist, photographer, and teacher. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, where she was runner-up for the program’s departmental award. She lives in Baltimore.
A dazzling and darkly comic memoir about coming of age in a black funeral home in Baltimore
Sheri Booker was only fifteen when she started working at Wylie Funeral Home in West Baltimore. She had no idea her summer job would become nine years of immersion into a hidden world. Reeling from the death of her beloved great aunt, Sheri found comfort in the funeral home and soon had the run of the place. With AIDS and gang violence threatening to wipe out a generation of black men, Wylie was never short on business.
As families came together to bury one of their own, Booker was privy to their most intimate moments of grief and despair. But along with the sadness, Booker encountered moments of dark humor: brawls between mistresses and widows, and car crashes at McDonald’s with dead bodies in tow. While she never got over her terror of the embalming room, Booker learned to expect the unexpected and to never, ever cry. Nine Years Under offers readers an unbelievable glimpse into an industry in the backdrop of all our lives.