A little bit about me – I’m not really an animal person. We’ve always had a cat growing up as children, and we even gave Mum & Dad a cat for their 25th wedding anniversary, but cats, dogs, parrots, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, budgies or finches – take ‘em or leave ‘em as far as I’m concerned.
Husband would go one step further and say “Animals are for eating”. Now that may not necessarily go down well in all camps, but then he did grow up on a farm in NZ – enough said?
Books about animals? Well, I prefer books about people – we have enough characters among the human race to write about without adding in furry, four-legged characters, but then I’m always open for something new. And something new arrived in my Christmas stocking, late last year. It was called Cleo – a 291 page international bestseller by newspaper columnist, Helen Brown.
On the front cover, Cleo is described by ‘Good Housekeeping’ as “Possibly the next Marley & Me” Given that I am probably the only person (bar husband) who didn’t go through a box of tissues while watching this film, was Cleo - a story about how a small black cat helped heal a family – really going to be a book for me?
Well, it was. Set in the wonderful city of Wellington, Cleo was real. I could imagine the wind howling against the windows, the steep streets walked along, a little black cat waiting patiently in the bedroom window waiting for her owners to return – and all the while, healing a family that had been ripped apart by death, grief, blame and loss.
There was no doubt about it, Cleo had character, and she was certainly the central character in this delightful yet tragic, charming yet sad book, dedicated to those who say they aren’t cat people but know deep down they are.