Johnsey’s debut tells stories of lessons he’s learned from animals.
The author’s feline companions have helped him climb out of occasional depressions by inspiring him with their crazy antics. In fewer than 100 pages, Johnsey shares lessons he’s learned from his cats and other creatures that have helped him lead a more contented life. For example, the author adopted a huge turtle that he found underneath his car, naming him Ben. He watched the turtle as he roamed the neighborhood daily. Ben always managed to avoid obstacles, and as the author saw the turtle struggle daily to dig his way out of his hole, only to return there every night, he learned the importance of visualizing dreams and pursuing goals. The author also shares the story of Edmund, his 17-pound Siamese cat, who would perch on a fence for an hour before jumping off of it, which inspired the author to slow down and enjoy life more. Although Johnsey mostly offers basic pop-psychology truisms and platitudes, the method he uses here is enjoyable and effective. Indeed, some readers may find this little storybook as enlightening as a book of proverbs. Occasionally, the author draws parallels between animal and human behavior that stretch beyond the ordinary; for example, when Keiko, his seal-point Siamese, became elderly, ill and odorous due to oral cancer which ate away at his jaw, the author found it challenging to show the cat affection—but when he did, the 18-year-old feline purred with joy. Johnsey uses this story to encourage others to look past imperfections and love others unconditionally. When the author watched a flock of baby sea turtles stumble and fall as they tried to reach the Atlantic Ocean in 90-degree Florida heat, he questioned whether humans possessed half of those tiny creatures’ determination. Johnsey even draws lessons in what not to do in a story of Puff, his long-haired gray Persian, and Amanda, a Maine coon mix, who both fought aggression with aggression.
A collection of valuable, if predictable, lessons from cute creatures.