Kind words on the whole from the Louisville Courier-Journal:
Readers may find that Madden’s genre-blending approach to taxidermy makes for an uneven book. Some of his personal digressions are tedious, while other side trips are fascinating. Generally, though, Madden’s prose is a joy to read; some passages strike me as poetry: “Every animal dies. Taxidermy is what comes next.”
And Madden’s claims about taxidermy are almost always thought-provoking. Most memorably, he argues that taxidermists are among our most fervent animal lovers: “A taxidermized animal is a remembered animal, a memorialized animal, and something memorialized is something loved.”
It’s been a common critique: rambling, digressive, uneven. I wouldn’t know how else to write a book. Or, well, that’s not true. Like: what book on taxidermy needs chitchat on the Dave Coulier-co-hosted America’s Funniest People or 250+ words on Camper Van Beethoven CD longboxes?
Mine did, turns out. This stuff is easy enough to identify and cut out of any manuscript. I never really gave it much thought as to why it got there in the first draft and stayed in through the end, but if I had to defend it today (and I know I don’t), I’d point to how the nonfiction I want to write reflects the writer’s thinking process so’s to induce such a process in his reader.
Digressively is how I think. Here’s something else I’d argue: same as everyone.