Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway.
So I was really looking forward to this book. A lot. I’d read the first chapter when it was posted online a few months ago and could not wait to get my hands on this one. I was super excited to receive the ARC in the mail a few days before the publication date and dove into the book as soon as I could….
And I hit a brick wall.
It’s not the book’s fault. Really. I mean that. It’s well written. I love me some unreliable narrator, and what can be more unreliable than an adult remembering a childhood trauma, particularly when people immediately began to tell him that he didn’t see what he thought he saw?
The problem? Is me. I began reading this book the week when we had to say goodbye to our beloved 19 year old cat, Fluffy. My husband raised her from a kitten and he had her 18 years ago when I met him. To say that I was feeling fragile about animals is to understate things.
As a result of my personal situation, when the narrator describes his father killing a dog and throwing its body into the hole in the cave, I just about died. I kept reading for a while, but I put the book down one night and I haven’t picked it up again.
Learn from my mistake. If you are feeling sensitive about animals dying, or if you don’t like depictions of animal cruelty, maybe give this book a miss. However, I still wonder how This Census-Taker ends. I want to know more about the narrator’s situation as an adult. Why is he writing this down? What’s going on? Someday, when I am feeling less fragile about losing our kitty, I will go back and finish this book. It’s good enough to deserve a clear-eyed read from someone who isn’t prone to sobbing uncontrollably because of something outside of the author’s control.