Thursday, September 9, 2010


I've never been much of a cat person. Dogs? Oh yes--in fact, apparently when I was in fourth grade, my teacher contacted my parents asking if they could please get me a dog. I guess I wrote about my wish daily in my journal and she felt sorry for me. Quincy, the best dog ever, was the result. Anyway, when we were asked to join the blog tour for CLEO: The Cat Who Mended a Family, I wasn't prepared to fall in love with the book. But I fell. Hard.

Here's what the back cover has to say:

Helen Brown had no intention of adopting a pet when she brought her sons, Sam and Rob, to visit a friend's new kittens. But the runt of the litter was irresistible, with her overlarge ears and dainty chin.

When Cleo was delivered weeks later, she had no way of knowing that her new family had just been hit by a tragedy. Helen was sure she couldn't keep her-until she saw something she thought had vanished from the earth forever: her son's smile The reckless, rambunctious kitten stayed.

Through happiness and heartbreak, changes and new beginnings, Cleo turned out to be the unlikely glue the affectionately held Helen's family together. Rich in wisdom, wit, heart, and healing, here is the story of a cat with an extraordinary gift for knowing just where she was needed the most.

And a bit about the author:

Helen Brown hails from New Zealand, where she worked as a journalist, TV presenter and scriptwriter. Now living in Melbourne, Australia with her family, Helen has been voted Columnist of the Year several times. CLEO rose to the top of the bestseller lists in its first weeks in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia and has been translated into more than eight languages.

Lila's take:

This memoir is about so much more than Cleo the cat. It is about life and loss and picking up and moving forward. It is about the strength of a mother, the love for her children and the connection humans can form with animals. At its core, this book is about love.

Helen's life will bring you to tears. I had to stop reading several times to give myself a chance to cry. Her writing is incredibly moving and as she tells her story, it feels as though you're right there living it. As the chapters unfold, her incredible strength will inspire. Brown's ability to make room for this crazy cat enables her grief to take a back seat when she needs it to the most. Cleo's antics help the entire family move forward to begin the healing process. There are certain lines of this memoir that I have shared with others and will never forget. It would make the perfect gift for cat lovers and non-cat lovers alike.

Leave a comment for a chance to win CLEO: The Cat Who Mended a Family. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Here's what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:


Matthew MacNish said...

How adorable (not just that cover, the story too)!

Martina Boone said...

Alright girls, who DOESN'T love cats? :) This sounds really good. It's amazing how pets can comfort us. My husband often works away from home. In the early part of our relationship, we had a cat and she was truly what got me through some difficult times being by myself. I will check this book out!

Thanks girls!

Christine Fonseca said...

OOhh nice! Thanks. I guess I need to add this one to my list too!

~Jamie said...

oh WOW! I am all about a good crying book. Seriously, I am such a dork that way! I will hafta pick this one up!

Linda Benson said...

Ha! When I saw on twitter that you didn't like cats, I almost reached for the 'unfollow' button *kidding* But seriously, you've just not known the right cat yet.

Anyway, I'd LOVE to win this book. Animals are right up my alley, and cats are like, my most favorite animal in the world. (And I love books that make you cry, too.)Put my name in the hat with a big red X on it, okay?

Unknown said...

Not a cat person, but maybe this will do the trick! Thanks for the review!

Dara said...

I am definitely a cat person. I have two of them--plus a dog :P Looks like a book I'll have to add to the list!

Unknown said...

I'm a cat person who was raised by dog people and their dog. I'll have to add this book to my list. Thanks for the review.

Elana Johnson said...

Hmm, interesting. My husband is allergic to cats, so we're not real cat-friendly people, but if you say so! I trust you all!

Unknown said...

I love cats, I'm definitely a cat person, a calico and siamese at home who are the sweetest and most adorable things!!!

Cute cover, just from that alone I'd read it!

Shannon Messenger said...

You don't like cats?????? Hm. Not sure if I can forgive you for that one. (only kidding. sort of ;) )

But this sounds like a beautiful book. Not sure I can handle it because everything bout it just screams: THE CAT IS GOING TO DIE because the animal always dies! But it does sound lovely. Maybe I'll give it a chance when I feel the need to cry.

Wannabe Writer said...

Sounds like a wonderful story.

Animals are amazing. They can comfort you when you're sad, make the good times even better, and help you appreciate the little things. My cat has stuck by me when when other people hit the road. That's true love.

Melody said...

This sounds good! Sounds sad, but I need a good cry-y book every once in a while. @Shannon's probably right; the animal always does die!

And I think it's hilarious/awesome that your teacher asked your parents to get you a dog. :)

Kimberly Franklin said...

I feel you on that cats thing. They make me cry. Literally. I'm allergic.

Guess I'll be adding another to my list. :)

Carolyn V. said...

Aw. What a cute little cat. I'm allergic too, so I'm no longer a cat person. But the book sounds great!

Tura Lura said...

I love cats! They love me, too. OR they just know I'm allergic to them but will pet them anyway. (Then sneeze for the whole next day. Or two.)

The book sounds like one I'll like, though. It's going on my ever-longer TBR list. ^_^

ali cross said...

I saw this book in the store the other day, but dismissed it without really looking. I might have to give it another chance.

When I was little, we had a cat, Jonothan (she was a girl cat, don't ask why it is we called her Jonothan, lol.) Later, when I talked with my mom and sister and Jonothan, I bragged about how she was MY cat. She slept with ME. But my sister said she slept with HER. And mom thought she was HER cat because J always slept with HER.

We came to see that our sweet cat somehow knew each of us needed to feel loved. So she would go to bed with me, then leave to go to bed with my sister, then leave to snuggle with my mom. We all felt loved by her, and special because she had chosen us. When really, she chose ALL of us.

Don't call this a comeback

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