Author: Alix Strauss
ISBN: 978-0—06-172856-3
Publisher:  HarperCollins


Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;

Acids stain you;

And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren’t lawful;

Nooses give;

Gas smells awful;

You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker, “Resume,” 1926 (Dorothy Parker’s dark poem begins Strauss’ book)

Author Alix Strauss explores suicides of people revered and some not so revered, arranged by categories:  authors, actors, musicians, artists, powerful people, and concludes with chapters on Fascinating Facts (one example, ten questionable Deaths you’ve heard of … and ten you might not have), ten of the most bizarre and gruesome suicides, a great love Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Grave Matters and Attempted Suicides.

Most of us admit to an element of fascination in the lives of others, and when it comes to final moments, the fascination can be even greater! Strauss’ book reveals little known details of suicides and in recounting facts shows that just because someone is well-known and respected; it does not mean that they are removed from bleak human emotions. At the end of the day, we must all face our personal demons.

Not every suicidal tale in the book is filled with gloom and doom. For example, author Hunter Thompson, remembered for his book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Hunter Thompson had a bad-boy image and was the inspiration for Gonzo journalism (injecting yourself into the story). Toward the end of his life, Thompson was suffering with chronic medical conditions and planned his final exit. His suicide note read:

             No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun.

              No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than

              I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun—for anybody.

              You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax---This won’t hurt.

Author Alix Strauss writes that after Hunter Thompson died, there was a huge memorial and celebration of his life. “The event was a near-perfect replica of the big picture. And though Hunter was there in spirit, he missed the biggest party of his life.” Hunter Thompson’s ashes were loaded into a $2 million dollar “mammoth cannon shaped like the Gonzo fist” and blasted into the sky, while Bob Dylan’s “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man” was serenading the grieving crowd. On the first anniversary of Thompson’s death (February 20th), there was a shrine built at a ski resort in Aspen, Colorado, complete with photos, an American flag, a gloved arm with a “Gonzo” tattoo, a Rolling Stone magazine cover (Thompson frequently wrote for the magazine), Tibetan prayer flags, and a bottle of Mr. Bubbles. What a way to be remembered!

Even if you consider yourself highly knowledgeable when it comes to celebrity suicides, I guarantee you that Strauss’ book will reveal facts you have never heard or read about before. Read “Death Becomes Them,” for an riveting read and prepare to enjoy the experience.