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Lessons in Taxidermy


A riveting tale of sickness and survival from the first female author on the Punk Planet Books imprint that brought you the indie hit Hairstyles of the Damned.

$12.95 $9.71

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“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. She struggles with health problems from birth, which are compounded by her surroundings, including frequent encounters with street fights, domestic violence and poverty. Her voice is as strong as the front she puts up for the multitude of doctors she sees, and it’s hard not to be in awe of what one fragile human being can withstand in the course of such a short lifetime . . . witnessing her strength and sheer determination to live makes this striking book completely engrossing.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[One of] the reigning mother superiors of the crowd [is] Bee Lavender.”
Time Magazine

“Bee’s scrupulous, non-histrionic style is thrilling; it allows for some devastating emotional moments because the author comes by them honestly.”
—Ayun Halliday, author of No Touch Monkey

“Bee Lavender is a fantastic writer. Her work is deep and personal and I don’t think there are any places she’s scared to go.”
—Michelle Tea, author of The Chelsea Whistle

“Stunning: oblique yet heart-wrenching details.”
Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture

“Bee Lavender—writer, activist, mother of two—is definitely hot. She is the very embodiment of extreme motherhood.”


Lessons in Taxidermy is part of our Punk Planet Books imprint, which originates from Punk Planet magazine.

Diagnosed with cancer at age twelve and perilously pregnant at eighteen, surviving surgeries and violent accidents: sometimes you can’t believe Bee Lavender is still alive; sometimes you think nothing could kill her. Lessons in Taxidermy is Lavender’s fierce and expressive search for truth and an elusive sense of safety. This autobiographical tale is stark and resolved, but strangely euphoric, tying together moments and memories into a frantic, delicate, and often transcendently funny account of anguish and confusion, pain and poverty, isolation and illusion. While staying conscious of the particulars of her circumstances, Lavender frames her life in the context of history, traveling, landscape, and freak show culture. Lessons in Taxidermy is apocryphal, troubling, cathartic, and important.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Published: 4/1/05
  • IBSN: 9781888451795
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750526


BEE LAVENDER is a writer, editor, publisher, and activist. After living in the Pacific Northwest for thirty-three years she moved to England, where her office is a canal boat moored on the River Cam. Her books include Lessons in Taxidermy and the anthologies Breeder (Seal Press, 2001) and Mamaphonic (Soft Skull Press, 2004). More information about Bee is available on her website, www.foment.net.

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