CATS & DAUGHTERS by Helen Brown


They Don't Always Come When Called
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An intimate memoir about one woman and her relationships with her cat and her family.

How do you deal with planning a wedding, being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a daughter who wants to become a Buddhist nun all at the same time? You get a high-strung, high-maintenance new kitten. Or at least this is how best-selling author Brown (Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family, 2010) coped with the stresses of her life. Amusing passages swirl among details of Brown confronting her illness: "Getting three surgeons to show up in the same operating room at the same time was like arranging for Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, and Queen Elizabeth II to attend the same charity event." Meanwhile, her daughter needed time and space to find her own identity in a Sri Lankan monastery. The author writes eloquently about the bonds that exist between women of all ages, as she crisscrosses the path between caretaker and needy patient. Woven in between are the antics of Jonah, the new kitten whose existence in the house was questioned from day one: "Jonah hesitated for a moment, as if considering the invitation,” she writes. “But he narrowed his eyes and took flight like a trapeze artist, launching himself through the air to land on top of the kitchen dresser….What I hadn’t counted on was a berserk kitten hurling himself on top of the upper cabinet. The glasses trembled ominously as he struggled to find his balance.” The author amiably recounts the ups and downs of owning a cat and integrating the animal into her life.

For cat lovers, a pleasant and moving story of love and identity among mothers, daughters and felines. Non–cat lovers need not apply.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8065-3606-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Citadel/Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2013


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