The Art of Taxidermy by Sharon Kernot
Genre: Young Adult, Poetry, Fiction
Publication: July 1st, 2018
Publisher: Text Publishing
Source: Review Copy – THANK YOU
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Lottie collects dead creatures and lovingly cares for them, hoping to preserve them, to save them from disintegration. Her father understands—Lottie has a scientific mind, he thinks. Her aunt wants it to stop, and she goes to cruel lengths to make sure it does.
And her mother? Lottie’s mother died long ago. And Lottie is searching for a way to be close to her.
The Art of Taxidermy is a heartbreaking verse novel exploring love and death, grief and beauty, and the ways we try to make sense of it all.
The Art of Taxidermy has been marketed as “for fans of Steven Herrick (The Simple Gift) and Diana Sweeney (The Minniow)”. I’m a big Herrick fan, and I’m inclined to agree with this statement. I haven’t read any Sweeney, but I do intend to rectify this.
Australian born Lottie is the daughter of two German migrants. After the loss of her mother, Lottie’s aunt takes over the maternal role. Lottie is trying to preserve the beauty of life with her taxidermy experiments. Trying to understand the world around her. Trying to make sense of the devastating losses she has had to face at such a young age. But her aunt doesn’t understand this, or really understand Lottie at all.
Sometimes reading MG or YA the mother/adult in me takes over and I side with the parental figure. But at times while reading this I was internally screaming at Lottie’s aunt and wanted to slap her back to last Friday.
I found the protagonist Lottie easy to connect with. I was Lottie! I think that is a sign of how well a story is told, of how good the story is, If you are so engrossed that you can’t unattach yourself from the character. That you struggle to see it any other way, other than the way the character sees it.
We (as the reader) feel the grief that drags Lottie down and together we deal with it, learn how to live again, and figure out who we are without the ones we love.
Words I would use (and am) to describe this book: beautiful, moving, engrossing, captivating, heart-breaking, heart-warming, hopeful and healing.
This #LoveOzYA verse novel by Mount Barker native Sharon Kernot is a moving testament to life and death. This is a hauntingly beautiful story that will stay with me for a long time.