There are plenty of books about dogs and how wonderful dogs are. Albert Payson Terhune made a profession of writing dog books, as did Jim Kjelgaard, and the trope of children’s books, especially award-winning children’s books, focusing on dogs is so well-established that there’s a book called No More Dead Dogs that plays on it. Understand, I have nothing against dogs, books about dogs, books from the point of view of dogs, you name it. But as a cat lover, sometimes I find it a little annoying that there are so many dog books and so few cat books, so when I have the chance to get a book from the point of view of a cat, as compared to a dog, I’m happy to snap it up.
Allow me to introduce you to Boo, the feline heroine/protagonist of Sandi Ward’s debut novel, The Astonishing Thing. Boo is your classic finicky feline, who doesn’t let just anyone into her heart, but she has grown very fond of and even devoted to her human, Carrie. Carrie provides food and laps and all the good things Boo requires. Carrie also takes care of the rest of the non-feline family, including her husband, Tommy, her children and the dog (whom Boo refers to as Not-Cat, and isn’t that EXACTLY how you would expect a cat to think of the household dog?), and everything seems to be going well, until one day when Carrie just leaves, and no one, especially Boo, has any idea what happened or why it happened. The entire household is in disarray, and Boo worries, as cats would, whether anyone is going to remember to fill her food dish, let alone provide a warm lap for her. But she’s also curious (a definite cat characteristic) about what happened to “Mother.” She’s been watching the family very closely and she knows that Carrie loved Tommy and the other members of the family. She knows Carrie didn’t stop loving them. So what led to her departure? And what, if anything, can a good-hearted and insightful cat do to bring the family back together again?
If you’re a cat person, you’ll enjoy this book. Even if you’re not a real cat person, you might just find yourself looking at cats (and their people) in a new light.