Thursday, December 20, 2012
Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper (Available Jan. 15, 2013)
Rating: 4/5 stars
From the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Homer's Oddessy, here is a tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel told through the eyes of the most observant member of any human family: the cat.
The day Prudence the cat adopts a human "roommate" named Sarah outside a building on the Lower East Side, there's something more than chance at work. But when Sarah doesn't come home one day, Prudence is uprooted from their apartment and the closest thing to a family she's ever known, and is taken to live with Sarah's daughter, Laura, and Laura's new husband, Josh. "It's important to keep your past organized," Sarah always liked to say. But as Prudence searches for the keyt hat will bring Sarah back, it's Laura's past, and the secret joys, hurts, and life-changing moments that make every mother-daughter relationship special, that will ultimately come to the surface. Heartwarming, insightful, and funny in the way only a cat can be, Love Saves the Day is about a daughter healing after the loss of her mother, about ha new husband and wife learning to adapt to marriage, and about how the love of an animal can make us all better humans. -From cover
Like The Two Week Wait, this wasn't the type of book I normally read (also like The Two Week Wait, I won my advance copy on Goodreads). I usually prefer lighter/funnier books over ones that tend to be a bit more serious. But I ended up enjoying it. Prudence's voice (and actions) added a lot of humor to a story about a mother-daughter relationship that imploded long ago, and now the daughter is left to figure things out on her own.
The book is mostly narrated by Prudence, which I love. It's really interesting/funny/cute to see things from a cat's perspective. She doesn't entirely understand what's going on, and you can definitely feel her anxiety from not knowing where Sarah is and having to move into a strange apartment with strange people. You can relate to Prudence, even though she isn't human, which I thought was awesome. At times, her voice and way of explaining things can be a little too cutesy, but you get used to it.
There are also chapters from the point of view of Laura (the daughter) and Sarah (the mother). They really help you understand the depth and scope of their relationship. It remains a secret until close to the end why their relationship fell apart (and I promise you, you will probably cry when you get there. I know I did). It keeps you wanting to read more and more.
Sarah used to be a DJ and owned a record shop after Laura was born, so there are a lot of music references in this book, which I thought was really interesting and cool. I'm a big music geek, so it was nice to see tributes to so many classic bands in Sarah's chapters.
The only downside was that it took a little while for me to get into this book. It started out kind of slow and it took a while for the plot to develop. For the first few chapters, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, but I'm really glad I kept reading, because the end is definitely worth it.
People who like books about family relationships, music, and animals should check this one out.
Have you read any other books narrated by non-human characters? What did you think? Do you like them or prefer a human narrator? Let me know in the comments!