I love cat memoirs, and I love that we’re seeing more and more of these wonderful stories being published. I absolutely adored Helen Brown’s first book, Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family, about the little black kitten who came into the author’s life after the death of her young son. This sweeping memoir of heartbreak, changes, new beginnings, and ultimately, happiness, touched my heart in a big way.
I was excited when Helen Brown’s publisher sent me the just published sequel, Cats and Daughters: They Don’t Always Come When They’re Called. But you never know with sequels: will they be as good as the first book, or will they disappoint? I should have known that Brown wouldn’t disappoint.
After Cleo died, the author swore she’d never get another cat, but the universe had different plans when a small Siamese kitten with an intense blue gaze wraps his paws around her hand in a pet store. Jonah came into Brown’s life shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had just begun recovery from a mastectomy. Additionally, she was planning her son’s wedding, and struggling with her daughter’s choice to become a Buddhist nun and move to war-torn Sri Lanka. Add in a high energy, hyperactive kitten with behavioral issues, and the author had her plate full and then some!
I found this book incredibly hard to put down – not something that happens with a lot with memoirs. Brown writes with humor, compassion and sometimes almost brutal honesty about her struggles with her illness, her daughter, and her rambunctious cat. This is a story of love and family – both two- and four-legged – with all the challenges and imperfections that are part of life. The juxtaposition of Brown’s struggles with her independent daughter and her equally headstrong cat, and the lessons she learns along the way about letting go and having faith are nothing short of inspirational.
Coming next week: an interview with Helen Brown!
Helen Brown will share how the success of her first book changed her life, what she’s working on now, and she’ll introduce the cat she’s fostering while she’s spending some time in New York City
This book was sent to me by the publisher. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.