A sweet but uneven animal tale that aims to touch cat lovers’ hearts.

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MEW-MEW AND ME

Sorhage’sdebut children’s picture book showcases the love between a girl and her unusual cat.

When the little girl first sees Mew-Mew, the cat is wearing a full cowgirl outfit and riding a cute brown-and-white horse at a ranch. The girl immediately falls in love and decides to bring Mew-Mew home with her. But this is no ordinary kitty: When she arrives at the girl’shome, she’s wearing a flowing purple skirt, cowgirl boots and a lavender blouse and carrying a purple backpack. The little girl imagines that her kitty speaks with a cowboy accent, using words like “[h]owdyand “honky-tonk” as she does such things as lasso a lizard and play the electric guitar. The book’s personification of Mew-Mew is charming, but there’s minimal storyline, conflict or character development. Instead, it’s simply a series of moments in which Mew-Mew acts almost like a person. The little girl repeatedly talks about how much she treasures and loves Mew-Mew while watching her play on the computer, chase birds and dance, among other things. There are some delightfully humorous moments, such as when the little girl pinches her nose shut to block the stench of cat food or when Mew-Mew trusses up the lizard during a calf-roping competition. The illustrations are vibrant, with cheerful, bright colors that showcase the happy kitty and her adventures, although they sometimes lack detail and uniqueness. The old-school computer font gives the book a robotic feel, which seems at odds with the warmth and love of the story, and the simplistic presentation—alternating pages of text and illustrations—can sometimes feel repetitive. The text is also awkward to read aloud, as its periodic attempts at rhyme often feel forced. Punctuation and capitalization are also inconsistent, as when the girl makes up nicknames such as “Scouting kitty” and “Yeehaw Kitty.”

A sweet but uneven animal tale that aims to touch cat lovers’ hearts.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482713527

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2014

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THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War—the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 28, 1990

ISBN: 0618706410

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1990

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Readers seeking a tale well told will take pleasure in King’s sometimes-scary, sometimes merely gloomy pages.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS

STORIES

A gathering of short stories by an ascended master of the form.

Best known for mega-bestselling horror yarns, King (Finders Keepers, 2015, etc.) has been writing short stories for a very long time, moving among genres and honing his craft. This gathering of 20 stories, about half previously published and half new, speaks to King’s considerable abilities as a writer of genre fiction who manages to expand and improve the genre as he works; certainly no one has invested ordinary reality and ordinary objects with as much creepiness as King, mostly things that move (cars, kid’s scooters, Ferris wheels). Some stories would not have been out of place in the pulp magazines of the 1940s and ’50s, with allowances for modern references (“Somewhere far off, a helicopter beats at the sky over the Gulf. The DEA looking for drug runners, the Judge supposes”). Pulpy though some stories are, the published pieces have noble pedigrees, having appeared in places such as Granta and The New Yorker. Many inhabit the same literary universe as Raymond Carver, whom King even name-checks in an extraordinarily clever tale of the multiple realities hidden in a simple Kindle device: “What else is there by Raymond Carver in the worlds of Ur? Is there one—or a dozen, or a thousand—where he quit smoking, lived to be 70, and wrote another half a dozen books?” Like Carver, King often populates his stories with blue-collar people who drink too much, worry about money, and mistrust everything and everyone: “Every time you see bright stuff, somebody turns on the rain machine. The bright stuff is never colorfast.” Best of all, lifting the curtain, King prefaces the stories with notes about how they came about (“This one had to be told, because I knew exactly what kind of language I wanted to use”). Those notes alone make this a must for aspiring writers.

Readers seeking a tale well told will take pleasure in King’s sometimes-scary, sometimes merely gloomy pages.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1167-9

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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