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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THE VANISHING HALF

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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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