It is one of the many charms of this book that Lavender is not only aware of the conventions of such autobiographies but that she consciously rejects them. Her powerful, elegant memoir should be read by everyone.... as an example of what truly well-written and unflinching self-examination can be like.
-The Sunday Telegraph
... An unflinching, beautifully written memoir of a childhood lost to illness...
Highly readable, fast-flowing account of a life of fighting off death - literally.... an extraordinary tale.
Lavender... holds nothing back as she recounts her life spent in and out of hospitals and her subsequent dissociation from her own body and emotions... witnessing her strength and sheer determination to live makes this striking book completely engrossing.
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
...There's a deep, almost painful beauty in her seemingly dispassionate language, and as Lavender interweaves the story of her most recent illness with those of her childhood and young adulthood, she also gives context to the physical contours and social history of the working-class Pacific Northwest landscape that was her home. In sifting through her unwanted memories, poking at the still-raw scars and bruises, Lavender shows how it is possible to transcend the body and its demands, to construct a whole and rewarding life out of a fractured past.
Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture
The writing is beautiful... Lavender is living proof of how much strength and determination one human being can possess... Reading Lessons in Taxidermy will pull your head out of pathetic self-pity. You will think again and realize that you are not all alone in this world. You will discover your own strength.
Jackson Free Press
You know the moment when you see someone injure themselves and it's painful and awkward to watch, but rather than reacting like a normal human being, you laugh a little? Even if the infliction was terrible and deep- perhaps the laughter is out of shock? ... Lessons in Taxidermy will probably make you shock-laugh. The book is short, dark, but inspiring...
There's little sense of comfort in Taxidermy; it's a brutal story, told with no sense of victimhood or blame. The result is a terrifying tale of a woman trying to live a complete life with a body that fails her in the most horrific ways imaginable. It's the type of book that breaks a reader's heart in the first five pages and repeats the process on each page for the remaining 155. The lone relief comes from knowing Lavender, now relatively healthy, survived it all to write such a stirring memoir.
-Time Out Chicago
Bee Lavender, activist, writer, publisher of HipMama.com: resilient, tougher than a barnyard of bikers, strong as hell, yet never hard, documents her battle against an encyclopaedia of physical ailments which would have felled lesser mortals. Bee Lavender... continues to do what she does best, inspiring other women to live creative lives and channel their experiences constructively. When the urge to whine hits, pick up this courageous document of female strength. Your Flesh Magazine
Lavender's memoir is exquisite, precise and deeply affecting from beginning to end. -Bookslut
Bee Lavender's story is a testament to guts, endurance and an indomitable will to not succumb to the maladies that are laying siege to her body. You think nobody knows the trouble you've seen? Read this, and stop whining.
-Small Spiral Notebook
She never once hints at self pity. Instead, she peels back the muscles and tendons like a medical student learning the mysteries of the human body - except for her, the subject is something more than the physical. She cuts into her wounds - body and soul - and extracts truth... Bee Lavender is the kind of person who makes you want to buck up and be brave - in writing as much as life. And Lessons in Taxidermy is the kind of book everyone should read.
Lessons in Taxidermy is unflinching and engrossing, devoid of self-pity, heart-wrenching and inspiring. -Rockpile: Independent Music and Culture
Bee's scrupulous, non-histrionic style is thrilling; it allows for
devastating emotional moments because the author comes by them
-Ayun Halliday, author of Dirty Sugar Cookies
A narrative that is breathtaking in its horrible, beautiful honesty.
-Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds
Bee Lavender is a fantastic writer. Her work is deep and personal and
don't think there are any places she's scared to go. Reading her
makes me feel brave, like I'm living a hard and infinitely redeeming
right along with her.
-Michelle Tea, author of Valencia and The Chelsea Whistle