The Art of Taxidermy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a book that was written in verse and this one reminded me why I love this form of storytelling so much. It was a beautifully haunting, and at times gruesome, story of a young girl dealing with loss and finding her place in the world.

The story features a young girl, Lottie, who is fascinated by nature and by studying and admiring animals after they’ve died. She collects specimens and preserves them the best she can as a child so that she can cherish them as her treasures. It’s a gruesome topic but her love of the animals is written with such passion that you can feel how much she adores them as you’re reading. She also deals with the way everyone around her seems to think that there’s something wrong with her because of her fascination and her heartbreak when anything happens to her animals is so well portrayed.

As the book progresses we get to find out more about Lottie and her family and all the loss that they’ve suffered, and it starts to make sense why she might have such a fascination with preserving death. One of my favourite things about the story was the relationship with Lottie and her father, his grief is easy to see as reading but so is his love for his daughter and it’s really nice to see how much he supports and understands her.

I did really enjoy reading this one, but it also doesn’t feel all that memorable. It’s beautiful and definitely something that I would love to read again but I don’t know if it’s going to stay with me like I hoped it would. I mean not that I need to remember all the character names, but it’s only been a few days since I’ve read it and I already had to look them up. The feelings I had while reading it have remained though, so it’s still a 4 star read for me. If you don’t like gory things or books dealing with heavier topics then probably skip this one, but if you’re fine with those then definitely give it a go because it really is a beautifully written story.
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It was beautifully written and and I will likely check out more from this author. The story at times was a little repetitive when it came to her dealing with the animals and taxidermy. I really liked how her father didn't  shame her for having an interest in it but I do think there should have been more conversation about death and grief between the two of them. 

This was just OK for me. Nothing terribly wrong and nothing super exciting. Would recommend.
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***ARC provided by Netgalley and Text Publishing Company in exchange for an honest review***


Okay, I'll start by saying that I was completely drawn to the cover; how beautiful is it. And though the subject of taxidermy isn't something that actually interest me, I was still completely curious about it and wanted to read a story based on it. I'm glad I was able to read this as it's my first verse novel, which is totally new to me. It is beautiful written, poetic almost.

Meet Lottie, a young girl who has suffered loss at a young age and through her grief, she begins a fascination with death. The story is told in verse that flows like a usual chaptered story. lottie goes through her every day life with grief and how she deals with it through her fascination with life after death by way of taxidermy and life after death. She sees beauty in it all, her father understands it on a scientific level while her aunt think it's something else, depression or something else.

The story isn't solely on grief as we get backstories of the family and the internment of families in Australia during WWII.

I can't give this story a perfect score as i felt there were repetitions from time to time, the story just circled for a while but it still flowed nicely anyway. I admit being a little bit confused at first, not knowing if i wanted to keep reading but I did and I'm glad i read it all. It was a fascinating read. It was sad but there was hope towards the end.
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This beautiful novel written in verse is about a young girl struggling with death and a fascination for taxidermy. 
The writing is very poetic and flowing, and makes for easy reading. I requested this book because I have been fascinated by the art of taxidermy and the mindset behind such an artistic medium since reading English Animals last year.
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Incredible! The hauntingly lyrical story that Kernot weaves is as beautiful as it is dark. A wonderful tale about dealing with death, hardships, and prejudices. This is definitely one I will be purchasing for my own personal collection as well as recommend it for our library collection. This definitely blew me away!
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Full confession first - I actually had no idea this would be a verse novel when I started it. I have never read a novel written in verse before, so it took a little while to get into it. But once I did, I actually found myself enjoying the lyrical writing. I was fascinated by the topic of grief and coping with loss but, sadly, the repetitive plot dragged it down in my opinion. Still worth the read though!

"Her name was always spoken
in a whisper - 
Adrianna, Adrianna.
Long vowels,
rolling in waves
of pain through air."


Topic: Many books handle the topic 'grief'. But few books handle it in such a multilayered way as this one. The MC Lottie, who is around 11-12 at the start of this book, has lost her mother and sister. To cope with this loss, Lottie becomes fascinated by the reanimation of dead animals through taxidermy. But her grief is not the only one in this book - there is also the quiet grief of her father, the memory-ladden grief of her grandmother and the grief-turned-fierce-protection of her aunt Hilda. Beautifully handled.

Verse: Like I said, verse novels is not something I have a whole lot of experience with, but I was truly impressed by how much meaning could be conveyed with so few words. Now, I, of course, can't say if this is the case with all verse novels, but in any case, it was impressive.

Writing: Death, taxidermy and grief are quite morbid topics, but the author here managed to make them almost beautiful with her poetic and lyrical writing. However, if you are squeamish about graphic descriptions of dead animals in various stages of decay, I would stay clear of this book if I were you. Fair warning.


Repetition: Sadly, this book seemed to repeat itself - Lottie finds a dead animal and brings it home. Aunt Hilda destroys it. And repeat. Over and over. The inability of the story to renew itself was a blow for me and made it a little boring. On the plus side though, it is short, so even with the repetitiveness it is quickly finished.
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The Art of Taxidermy is beautifully written and flows with an ease not commonly come by. The way the author tells the story through carefully crafted prose is sublime and I couldn't believe how quickly I had gotten to the last page. 

This book is for anyone who wants to take a look at grief and the grieving process from a new perspective and the way it's presented through the main character makes you feel for her and connect organically with her. 

On another note besides the actual writing of the book; the aesthetics are lovely and interweave beautifully with the narrative. 

My only word of caution is for those that are squeamish-- you might have a hard time getting through some of the more graphic descriptions of "specimens" so be forewarned. 

All in all, this book is a beautiful and poignant look into one person's journey through grief and the implications it has on those close to her. It's a study in human relationships, both alive and deceased.

 I am so honored to have been able to get an advanced reader's copy in return for my honest review.
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First thing, this cover is STUNNING. 
This book was beautiful, showing the emotion of love and loss at such a young age. The main character, Lottie, is dealing with the death of people close to her in her own way, by finding dead critters and learning how to do taxidermy. Her aunt is against the entire thing, thinking it isn't for young ladies and is unbecoming, but it shows that everyone has their own thing and it doesn't have to stick inside the status quo. This is a fast read, I completed it in less than 3 hours, but it is a good read that captures the emotions of loss and the long-term grieving process. It highlights that everyone copes differently, especially at young ages.
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I don't know what really affected the story for me. Whether it was the writing or that it was in verse. I don't know if this story was told well written in verse. For the first 30%, I didn't even know what was happening. Then as Charlotte starting getting into taxidermy, it became much clearer. She was using it to connect with her sister over the loss of her mother and going against their aunt. But in the end the story just didn't work because it was boring.
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This is not an actual review.  I didn't finish the book but somehow I am not allowed to say that so to get it off my shelf I need to put in a review.  Never happened before -- sorry!
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I really enjoyed this.  I liked the way in which it was told, and the darkness within its prose.  Great protagonist.
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Beautiful. Haunting. Young Lottie leads such a misunderstood life. Like a bubble about to burst, all the sadness and grief that encompasses her reaches a crossroads and finds that  just by communicating her thoughts makes all the difference to her future. I often worry about books that are labeled YA whose lead characters are very young. I’ve found most teens aren’t interested.  However,  the content is very mature and lyrical and hopefully the cover will entice them.  Adults will devour this.
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A quick and interesting read, full of wonder. I loved how this book was set out and found it quick to read. The ending is really lovely as well.
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An addictively quick read, written beautifully in verse. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, this story is brilliantly compelling.
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I requested this book because I've loved most of the verse novels I've read so far, but this is a no from me.

The writing style is actually good, but the descriptions of dead and decaying animals really grossed me out (although I concede that that's a me thing). For most of this book, I was just kind of bored, and I found that it wasn't really for me. So nothing too amazing, but nothing too terrible either.

But then... Did this white author... really have to use the N word? Short answer: no, not at all, not ever. Yikes. And I've somehow not seen this mentioned in any of the reviews I've read? I actually stopped reading right after seeing this, because that's honestly all I need to know. (Page 170 btw, for reference.) This book is set to come out in August so I sincerely hope this will get rectified in the finished copy.
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The Art Of Taxidermy. 
It really lives up to its title. 

I thought perhaps it was a metaphor for something in the book but oh no this girl finds dead animals and keeps them. 

She hopes to find a way to preserve them and give them “life” again and the book describes her bedroom as smelling as death and decay. 

Some of the descriptions for the dead animals was also gross so if you are kind of squeamish and live animals then this book may not be for you. 

It is about a girl named Lottie from Australia who lives with her father and aunt. Her mother has passed away and I think Lottie discovers her passion for Taxidermy by her slight obsession with death. I think it is her way of coping. 
She has a friend in the book named Annie who we later find out was her sister. I had a suspicion early on that Annie was a figment of Lottie’s imagination when I noticed people would totally ignore her and her presence. I am assuming it is in Lottie’s head and she was not seeing ghosts. 

I gave this book only two stars because I did think the author is talented and I liked her writing style even though this book was not enjoyable for me. Maybe someone going through a loss of their own would connect with the story better. I would read something else by the author in the future and give her next book a chance. 

Another reason I gave it two stars was that even though this was a short book I found it very boring and I had to push myself through it. I am not sure if it was boring for me because I could not really connect with it or because it was truly boring. Like I said I did like the writing style so I am guessing it because I had no connection to the characters. 

Since the book was in Australia which we did not find out until more towards the end some better description would have been nice. As a reader I really like to picture the scenery in my mind as Im reading. 

This was one of those books for me where the cover was stunning but the book inside did not live up to the hype of the cover for me. 

If you enjoy YA and have time for a quick read then I would say to give it a try. Id love for you to let me your thoughts on this one!
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The Art of Taxidermy is about a young girl struggling to deal with her mothers death. To help her deal with this she becomes obsessed with taxidermy - much to the distaste of her aunt. 

The writing in this book was beautiful. The author managed to keep the story interesting but the writing lyrical without slowing the story down. 

I connected easily with Lottie. I found myself able to connect to her feelings and to see everything through her eyes. However, I did feel somewhat indifferent and disconnected from every other character in the story. It didn't spoil the book for me but at times I found it difficult to fully immerse myself. 

Another thing I struggled with was the frequent bouncing from one idea to the next, it left me confused and I struggled to follow on to the next focus. It was often hard to pick out what the actual plot is was and where it was going. 

I admire the fact it was written in verse form. It must be so difficult to tell a story in this format - having to keep up with the story whilst also keeping in time with the rhythm and format. 

Overall, even with the minor issues, I enjoyed the book, especially the writing. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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I really enjoyed this little book out of Australia, told in verse, about a topic that I have absolutely no interest in.  However, the author had a beautiful way with words, making taxidermy seem almost poetic, a lovely way of managing grief. The story unfolded, page by page, getting deeper and more intricate as it slowly revealed the deeper underlying themes.  I found myself repeatedly highlighting phrases, delighting in way the author played with words (“we ate dinner at right angles” and “a clatter of cockatoos, a racket, a rattle, a jangle, a clank, a clash, a bangle, a mangle of flapping wings, flared Sulphur crests” for example).
I loved Lottie, the main character, and her eccentricities.  I found her obsession with taxidermy curious,but understood it as the story developed. Since finishing the book, I find myself continuing to think about the story, so though it was a quick read, it’s staying power is long lasting.  

My thanks to NetGalley for an Advanced Readers Copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in any way.
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I genuinely thought my Kindle had done something weird to the format when I started reading The Art of Taxidermy. I had no idea what was going on until it dawned on me – this book was written in verse.

And I hated that.

This is a story about grief. A story about a little Australian girl, Lottie, who has experienced far too much death for someone so young and it’s slooowly transformed into a fascination with all things dead. Her father indulges her and encourages it with his Science Is The BEST hat on, whilst her aunt decides that it’s absolutely not the way a young lady should be behaving and punishes her at every god damn opportunity.

Let’s get one thing straight: her obsession isn’t about violence. It’s about understanding death and appreciating it. It does, however, come with a few social hangups.
Lottie’s obsession turns into taxidermy. Her taxidermy creeps people out. The creeping out of people turns her into a loner. The loner status means these dead things become her friends.

And that’s all I’ve got.

Although this book’s technically beautifully written, it’s just not my bag. I tried (oh, how I tried) to love it, but I was just painstakingly bored and wishing it was written a different way.

This is a Marmite book; loved by many, but not for me.
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"It is not macabre or ghoulish to hold on, to resurrect, to re-imagine, to re-create. It is a way of honouring beauty. It is a way to hold on to life."

The Art of Taxidermy is a novel in verse about family, loss, dealing with the past--and, of course, taxidermy. Lottie, an Australian of German descent, has lost her mother and baby sibling in one fell swoop. She's not entirely over the death of her older sister, either. As Lottie navigates her grief, and her father tries to support her as best as he can through her own grief, she gravitates towards the body and bones of dead animals. For her, preserving and holding on to these bodies is a way to honor life, figuratively resurrect the dead, and cope with her grief. Even though this new hobby clashes with her aunt's idea of what healthy coping and teen-girl activities look like, she remains firm in her convictions and scientific inclinations. 

This book has some great imagery, as well, and the parallels between taxidermy and processing sadness were really compelling without feeling contrived. There were a few twists and secrets in the book that I truly didn't see coming but that made me want to return to the book again just to catch the deeper layers. I really appreciated reading this book, and it'd be great for anyone processing loss in the family or coming to terms with difficult family history. My only major complaint was that my e-book format messed with the verse formatting. 

[Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
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