Cover Image: The Art of Taxidermy

The Art of Taxidermy

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Member Reviews

The Art of Taxidermy is a story that explores loss, grief, and the beauty of death + life intertwined. The unique prose is one that I've never encountered in a novel before, part poetry and part diary; I admit it was quite a surprise. Taking into account that while there are lyrical verses that are written so beautifully and elegantly, the style really threw me and I struggled to read through the actual plot due to the disjointed nature. I was also unable to connect with Lottie's voice for the majority of the time. Despite the rawness of emotional vulnerability, the worldview we are given is shallow and I found the repetitiveness boring. The casual racial slur "of the times" (n-word) included was unnecessary and offensive, and I can only imagine how instantly alienated some readers may have felt after reading that. Overall I didn't enjoy this, it's a hard no from me.
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After reading the blurb I knew I had to read this novel. I liked it immensely. The character of Lottie is really interesting and engaging, I wanted to follow through her journey with grief. While this sounds like a tough subject matter and it is at times heartbreaking there is a lightness of touch in Kernot’s writing that bridges the gap between sorrow and joy. There are moments of sadness and moments of joy, A verse novel is not something I was overly familiar with but I really enjoyed this one.
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I love a book written in verse but have very high expectations of them after reading and adoring books in this style, written by the likes of Sarah Crossan. 

The Art of Taxidermy is a moving story of death, grief, family and friendship. When Lottie loses her mother, she fills the hole with animals. Dead animals. Taxidermy becomes her way of making sense of death, encouraged by her father. Lottie is not the ‘girly girl’ her aunt wishes her to be, but Lottie stays true to herself throughout, which is a great message.

As it is written is verse, I flew through the book quite quickly, and enjoyed the whole reading experience.
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Thank you Netgalley for the chance to read and review this title. I will review this title at a different date.
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Beautifully written, heartbreaking story. Really unique way of writing, and I found the story stuck with me and made me very emotional.
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I've never read a novel written in verse before, so this was a new experience for me. The writing is beautiful, and it brought up some raw emotions.
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Interesting, but not memorable for me. I enjoyed it but I wouldn't recommend it to others.there could have been improvements in the pacing of the book - it didn't feel right, and I got bored during a few sections.
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The Art of Taxidermy is a beautifully crafted novel in verse that essentially is about the complexity of grief and how different people deal with it. Set in Australia, the story is told through the eyes of 12-year-old Lottie, who has seen a lot of loss in her young life. Due to what she has experienced, Lottie has a growing fascination with the dead: collecting dead lizards, birds, and rodents as if they are treasures. Lottie's strange hobby draws consternation from her Aunt Hilda, who believes such things are inappropriate for young girls.

For as short and as simple as it seems at first, The Art of Taxidermy is actually a multilayered, complex little novel. Right off the bat, we meet Lottie, who sees the beauty in dead things, and quickly becomes determined to learn how to preserve and immortalize them just like the ancient Egyptians she learns about in class.

The story is revealed piece by piece – the complexities of Lottie's life slowly unfold in the pages. From the death of her mother, to how death has haunted Lottie and her family throughout the decades. But – as I was surprised to discover – this is more than just the story of one family. A dark and not-often-discussed part of Australia's past is explored through Lottie's family history. I ended up doing a lot of secondary research as I was reading this – the lack of context would normally annoy me, instead I was made aware of some important history I knew nothing about previously.

I'm not usually a poetry person, I found the verse to be very readable – I sped through it in one sitting. The way the author discusses grief and death is beautiful and lyrical. 

"It is good to feel sad,
It is good to cry,
It is good to grieve.

Tears swelled in my eyes,
Father's voice was soft and gentle and full of pain.

In his eyes I saw
what I felt.
It was as if I had travelled
the distance
to his heart,
to the dark recesses
of his grief."

I felt so deeply for Lottie and her situation. On the one hand, she is a budding scientist, but deep down, handling these tiny dead creatures is how she copes with her loss. Everyone deals with death it in a different way – for Lottie, it's the preservation of dead creatures. While this easily could have been a grotesque book, instead it turns something that might be "gross" into a tender exploration of how a young girl handles death. 

My one gripe about this story, is the contentious relationship between Lottie and her Aunt. A large part of the plot is devoted to the struggle between the two, while Lottie's father just sort of stands by with a shrug. Aunt Hilda continuously points out how she believes Lottie's strange hobby is "not fit for girls," and it isn't until the end that things turn around. I had hoped to see more growth between the two characters – as a result, the Aunt's character came off as very two-dimensional to me. 

Overall, I enjoyed this story far more than I expected to. It was exquisitely written and atmospheric – I was captivated from page one. Despite being in verse, I didn't have trouble getting into the "flow" of the author's writing, and I didn't find any portions to be too vague or metaphorical. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I learned about Australian history from this beautiful little book. Would I recommend it? Absolutely – don't let the verse aspect scare you off, it's more than worth dedicated your reading time to.
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All I can say right now is that I absolutely loved this book. Exploring themes of death, family and what encompasses friendship, The Art of Taxidermy kept me enthralled from start to finish.

Beautifully written in verse, the story flows seamlessly, detailing Charlotte's journey through her world. On multiple occassions, I had to take a moment as my heart was ripped from my chest with sorrow.
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I found the genre this book was written in really interesting, as it was like prose written like poetry. 
Overall I enjoyed this book, even though originally I picked it up because of the cover. It can be a bit unsettling as there are some descriptions of dead animals.
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I really am not a fan of books written in verse like this but I was willing to give it a go. It did not live up to my expectations at all unfortunately.
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I’ve never given taxidermy much thought, and I don’t particularly enjoy the idea of recreating dead animals, but somehow this book showed me the art of it. Lottie enjoys taxidermy and the way it allows her to recreate and, in a way, revive them back to life. An interesting way of looking at it that I never considered. Her family has a history of tragedies and deaths that fuel this interest. Her mother passed away after giving birth to a stillborn and her sister drowned when she was 6. For her, taxidermy is a way of dealing with that grief that doesn’t leave. As much as she’d like to bring her family back to life, she cannot, and being able to do taxidermy is a way for her to bring back the beauty and life to creatures lost to death. Her aunt does not approve, and continuously tries to deter her. It doesn’t come from a place of malice, but concern that I could understand. It’s certainly an unusual hobby to have, but Lottie doesn’t do it to be harmful but rather the opposite. The topic of death can be heavy, and this book showed the grief and pain that can be associated with it, but also that death doesn’t mean that those you love are completely gone
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I love books that are written in verse so this was a quick read. It was a good story but just not my usual jam.
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 Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of  The Art of Taxidermy  via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was not what I was expecting at all, but in a delightful way. The title, description and cover appealed to my morbid interests, so I did not realize that it was written entirely in verse until I began to read it. Modern poetry can be a bit difficult to slog through at times, but I found  The Art of Taxidermy  incredibly easy to read. The imagery was vibrant and the descriptions of Lottie's experiences and consequential emotions and coping skills moved me. It was refreshing for me to read a book that was honest about death and its physical forms. The novel being set in Australia and nodding to the German immigrants and their mid-20th century experience in internment camps was an unexpected rare gem. It was sorrowful, but tied the book together so well. I was utterly spellbound. Fans of Ellen Hopkins will enjoy Kernot's style, but anyone with an interest in the macabre ought to give this one a go.
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The Art of Taxidermy is a heartbreaking verse novel about grief, and the different ways we deal with it.
When Lottie loses her mother at a young age, she becomes fascinated with death, and starts collecting dead animals. Her aunt disapproves of this pursuit, whilst her father encourages her morbid curiosity. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you netgalley and publisher for the early copy. 

This was well-written verse novel that I would recommend checking out.
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Heartbreaking and a coming of age story, who would have thought such a combo would make a beautiful and poetic novel. Kernot's words are like art and I can envision all the beautiful things that Lottie see's. No longer does a dead animal look like one, instead love and care bring the animal back to life. Her father see's her actions as they are - a revival of her mothers memory and a way to understand death and he silently encourages her forward. Her Aunt sees her dissections and collections of once living things, as unnatural and admonished Lottie against such practice. I loved the lyrical verse style of this book so much and look forward to reading more by Kernot.
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*RECEIVED FROM NETGALLEY

I did not expect for this to be written in spoken word/prose (I think that's the word I'm looking for). I also like how the title actually sticks to the actual point of the book. I loved the main character of the book stuck to what she wanted to do despite her family's opinion on her doing taxidermy. I also loooooved the artwork that was in the novel as well. If you have the chance to read it I would definitely read this. It's under 300 pages (I think even under 200 if not right around 250).
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A charming novel about a girl's obsession with death.  It beautifully explores grief and loss. 

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest, voluntary review.
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Short but so dark. Perfect for me. Our main heroine, Charlotte was amazing. The book is heavy but I loved it. I recommend it
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