THE BEST CAT EVER by Cleveland Amory


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 Fans of Amory's delightful cat books (The Cat and the Curmudgeon, 1990; The Cat Who Came for Christmas, 1987) may find this third and final volume in the series disappointing: It's really more a memoir of Amory's college days and writing career than an account of his famed relationship with his much beloved feline, Polar Bear. This isn't to say, however, that Amory's life hasn't been interesting. As he travels with Polar Bear to reunions at Milton Academy and Harvard, we find out much about his prep school and university days. With the help of Katharine Hepburn and her family, he landed a plum editorial job right out of college with the Saturday Evening Post and soon was spending a summer in France hobnobbing with celebrities as a guest of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. (He was supposed to ghostwrite an autobiography of the Duchess, but the project never got off the ground.) Later, Amory achieved his own fame, spending 14 years as a critic for TV Guide. (The hilarious excerpts from his 1963-76 column--write-ups on Queen for a Day, Let's Make a Deal, etc.--are one of the highlights here.) The two concluding chapters, about the declining health of both Amory and his cat--they both become arthritic; Amory gets hit by a truck; Polar Bear develops incurable kidney problems--are the most compelling, and Amory's moving account of his decision to put his dear companion of 15 years to sleep is heartrending. Happily, his eventual adoption of a new waif, Tiger Bear, ends matters on an uplifting note. Not the best cat book ever--but R.I.P., Polar Bear. (B&W line drawings throughout)

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1993
ISBN: 0-316-03744-3
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993