Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper

Currently Reading

Blurb: From the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Homer’s Odyssey comes a tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, primarily told through the eyes of the most observant member of any human family: the cat.

Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.

So notes Prudence, the irresistible brown tabby at the center of Gwen Cooper’s tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, which is mostly told through the eyes of this curious (and occasionally cranky) feline.

When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she knows she’s found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn’t come home. From Prudence’s perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They’re carrying boxes. Before they even get to the front door, Prudence realizes that her life has changed forever.

Suddenly Prudence finds herself living in a strange apartment with humans she barely knows. It could take years to train them in the feline courtesies and customs (for example, a cat should always be fed before the humans, and at the same exact time every day) that Sarah understood so well. Prudence clings to the hope that Sarah will come back for her while Laura, a rising young corporate attorney, tries to push away memories of her mother and the tumultuous childhood spent in her mother’s dusty downtown record store. But the secret joys, past hurts, and life-changing moments that make every mother-daughter relationship special will come to the surface. With Prudence’s help Laura will learn that the past, like a mother’s love, never dies.

Poignant, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny in the ways only a cat can be, Love Saves the Day is a story of hope, healing, and how the love of an animal can make all of us better humans. It’s the story of a mother and daughter divided by the turmoil of bohemian New York, and the opinionated, irrepressible feline who will become the bridge between them. It’s a novel for anyone who’s ever lost a loved one, wondered what their cat was really thinking, or fallen asleep with a purring feline nestled in their arms. Prudence, a cat like no other, is sure to steal your heart.

My Review: This is by far the hardest review I've ever had to write; how do you do a book justice that has so completely touched your soul? In a word it is exquisite. I've spent the last few nights reading until the wee hours, savoring each and every word dreading the moment it would end. Every moment I wasn't reading it I was aching to get back to it, unable to stop thinking about it. I will never forget these characters or this story...it has a forever home on my keeper shelf and in my heart.

Sweet little Prudence has completely stolen my heart. Her voice and the way she sees us crazy humans is exactly how I would imagine a cat's thought process to be. It is obviously how Gwen Cooper knows cats. Some of her observations had me laughing out loud, while others simply broke my heart. The pets left behind when an owner dies don't understand why they've been abandoned, and the way Prudence spent every moment in her new home surrounded by the Sarah-boxes, thinking that if she kept remembering Sarah she would return, fearing that if the scent of her and Sarah together disappeared Sarah would never find her way back...everytime I think about it I get a lump in my throat. Prudence's simple view of love is something we could all learn from; the love only a pet can provide.

Sarah and Laura's relationship teared me up as well, mostly because my own mother is my best friend in the world and I can't imagine not having this extremely important relationship in my life. I kept wondering what could have happened to drive such a wedge between a mother and daughter that had once been so close, knowing only that it had something to do with their neighbors the Mandelbaums and their cat Honey, and when the reason was revealed I was stunned. And to think the event is based on something that really happened is just unthinkable. It made the whole picture so much clearer, and showed that the circumstances surrounding Sarah rescuing Prudence were meant to be. The love and magic of one little brown tabby was meant to change so many lives.

I can pretty much guarantee you will need a box of tissues when you read this book, but you will also be filled with the hope, healing, and love that Prudence, Laura, and Sarah discover and make you want to hold your two and four legged loved ones a little tighter. It is sure to be a classic for anyone who loves a beautifully written story about the relationships that make up our lives, destined to be a cherished re-read because there is so much wisdom about love and life contained in it's pages you will want to absorb them again and again. I can't help thinking what a beautiful movie this would be.

Prudence now has her own special place in my heart right alongside my own beloved pets...she feels that real to me.

Tara adored the book (and Prudence) too!!!


Brooke Showalter said...

This sounds like such a great read! It's on my TBR list. I have the cutest, chubbiest stuffed cat named Prudence LOL.

I love that picture of Tara!

Tess Bibliophile said...

A 5-paws review - I'm definitely going to add this to my TBR list, thanks! Love the picture of Tara <3


Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Thanks Brooke! Prudence is such a great name, isn't it?

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Thanks for stopping by Tess...I'll be telling Tara about your nice comments :)