A smart, sarcastic, illustrated look at the cat-keeping lifestyle.


Cat Post

A short collection of humorous vignettes from the life of a cat owner.

Maggots’ (Cupcake Factory, 2015, etc.) short book, lavishly illustrated by Jacobus, gives readers dozens of lively, humorous glimpses into the always problematic dynamic between cats and their owners. Overall, the author enhances the immediacy of this account by casting many reflections here in the form of diary entries of both cat and man, and these are filled with a raucous humor that will make this short book enjoyable for cat owners everywhere. The interactions in these pages may be fanciful—humans and cats simply talk back and forth to one another, and there’s a buddy-movie vibe to the whole thing—but they’ll nevertheless be immediately recognizable to cat people specifically and pet owners in general. When the narrator, Human, asks his pet, Old Cat, “What are you going to do today? Why don’t you make yourself useful and find a part-time job or something?” many will nod knowingly when the feline replies, “Nah, I’m just gonna lie around, maybe lick myself. I’ll probably destroy some of your expensive furniture. Anyway, catch you later.” The book touches upon nearly every aspect of cat ownership, from the damage they do during their seemingly manic bursts of energy to their scattershot understanding of sanitation to their complete disregard for human privacy. The cat-as–alarm-clock, the cat-as-noisemaker, the cat-as–garbage-disposal—and, charmingly (though always with a cynical edge), the cat-as–friend-and-companion—are all brought to life in short scenes illustrated in either full-color images or energetic pen-and-ink drawings by Jacobus. Readers get a cat’s-eye perspective on everything from the pets’ wanderlust to their hatred of baths to their curious, and often repulsive, habit of presenting their owners with killed and mutilated animal corpses as presents. Both sides liberally express their exasperation (“Do you know what it's like as a single father raising a brat of a cat?” the human asks at one point), but there’s an undercurrent of grudging affection in these pages that will likewise strike cat owners as familiar.

A smart, sarcastic, illustrated look at the cat-keeping lifestyle.

Pub Date: March 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5233-0730-2

Page Count: 38

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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