Book review: Sketch People: Stories Along the Way by T.J. Banks

Sketch People T.J. Banks cover

Full disclosure: Sketch People is not a cat book. Sketch People is a collection of stories about people – about their work, their passion, and their experiences. But since the stories were compiled by T.J. Banks, author of some of the best cat books I’ve read, including Catsong and Houdini, there are quite a few cats woven into some of the stories. And I’m honored and delighted that one of the stories in the book is about Buckley and me.

Ingrid King and Amber

“Hooked on a Feline: Ingrid King and Buckley’s Story” was the result of an interview with T.J. Banks. It’s one of my favorite stories about Buckley and me, told with T.J. Banks’ characteristic style that gets at the heart of a story, a person, or a cat. Banks’ portrayal of both of us doesn’t just get at the heart of who Buckley was, it also expresses how much writing her story meant to me in a way that few other journalists or reviewers have. Writes Banks, “…what we take away from Buckley’s Story…{is} the loving spirit of the cat who, like the teacher in the adage, showed up when the human was ready for her. King herself sums it up best. When asked what word-picture of Buckley she’d like to leave the reader with, the writer says simply, ‘Joy’.”

The other stories in the book are told with the same emotional honesty. From animal artist Bernadette Kazmarski to actress Tippi Hedren, the founder of Shambala, a wild cat refuge in Acton, California (plenty of cats in both of these stories!), Banks helps the reader see how these particular people started on their individual journeys, and where their journeys took them. There’s the veterinarian who paints, the woman who learns to embrace her psychic abilities and ends up designing angel-inspired jewelry, and the cancer survivor who goes from being a geologist to a master gardener to goat’s milk soap-maker.

My favorite “sketch” of all of them was Banks’ affectionate tribute to the late writer and animal activist Cleveland Amory. Banks portrayal of all of her subjects reflects an emotional connection between the writer and her subjects, but in no other story does it show more than in the one about Cleveland Amory. Like all cat lovers, I came to know and love Amory through his three books about Polar Bear, The Cat Who Came for Christmas. I loved getting a more personal glimpse into what this, to me, larger than life man, was like.

Sketch People is an inspriational collection of stories about people who dared to follow their dreams, no matter what life threw at them. This is a book to be savored, one story at a time. And as you read about all of these journeys of passion, they may just inspire some passion in your own life.

T.J. Banks is the author of A Time for Shadows and Catsong.  Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul and A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love.  She lives with her daughter Marissa and their cats and rabbits in a sometimes peaceable, but always interesting kingdom in Connecticut.

I received this book from the author. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

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5 Comments on Book review: Sketch People: Stories Along the Way by T.J. Banks

  1. Bernie
    March 3, 2012 at 12:10 am (7 years ago)

    I will be getting this book. Steeler is a speed reader<3

    Reply
  2. Caren Gittleman
    March 2, 2012 at 9:15 am (7 years ago)

    this book sounds exceptionally interesting and inspirational!! Congratulations for being featured in it!

    It appears that there is much talent gathered together in this book!

    I also notice that the problem with the book cover is fixed!!!!

    YAY!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm (7 years ago)

      Thanks, Caren. It truly is an inspirational book.

      Reply
  3. Max the Quilt Cat
    March 2, 2012 at 6:38 am (7 years ago)

    Sounds like a great book and might be a good one to get for HH for Mother’s Day or something like that.

    Thanks for the idea.

    pawhugs, Max

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm (7 years ago)

      I think HH would really enjoy this book, Max.

      Reply

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