My Life as a Cat
My Life as a Cat is a medium-length novel with short chapters which tells the story of an alien sent to Earth with the idea of working for a month as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park, but who mistakenly ends up as a pet cat.
As you will gather from the synopsis, this is a very quirky book. The title will mislead young readers hoping for an insight into what it might be like to be a cat because there is little of a cat’s-eye view in this story. Leonard, as the cat comes to be known, has a yellow raincoat, can talk to penguins, and is a dab hand at typing out messages and whole conversations (incidentally, my kidnapped cat Lesley also loves a keyboard but will type only consonants). He becomes the protege of Olive, a lonely unconfident eleven year old badly in need of a friend, who is nevertheless prepared to part with him since he must return to his planet at an appointed time, a goal which necessitates a dash across America in an ancient camper-van driven by the Johnny Cash and classic car-loving Q. You will see what I mean by quirky.
You could say that in her book, the writer, Carlie Sorosiak, celebrates humanity (as seen through Leonard’s eyes) with all its foibles, joys and vulnerabilities, and she certainly affirms the value of belonging in a family, both of which would make it comfortable reading for children. But the trouble with the story, despite its imaginative possibility, is that it is far too slow, with too many interior musings on Leonard’s part and little exciting physical action and tension till the end. I could imagine a quirky 9 or 10-year old picking it up in the class library, but I suspect that many will give up for the want of a little excitement early on.
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