Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ray's Reviews: Gwen Cooper's Love Saves the Day

"Love Saves the Day" by Gwen Cooper (Bantam, $26) isn't the kind of book I normally read. But sometimes I get overloaded from the fast-paced violence of today's thrillers and just want to relax.

The colorful cover art got my attention - with a striking image of a quizzical cat set against an evening backdrop of a towering city.

Cooper is the best-selling author of "Homer's Odyssey," her memorable book about her adoption of an unwanted three-week-old blind cat and their close relationship.

This new release is fiction, offering entertaining escapism that's told mostly from a cat's unique perspective.

Prudence is an emotional three-year-old cat that doesn't know why Sarah, her Most Important Person, isn't around to be with her anymore.

When a neighbor lady comes by to feed Prudence, she appreciates it but wonders where Sarah is. Laura, Sarah's daughter, arrives with her new husband and a pile of empty boxes; the understandably edgy cat doesn't know what to expect.

Taken to a new apartment, Prudence has to make considerable adjustments. She's also trying to train humans, a very challenging task.

Prudence misses Sarah, finding comfort in a dark closet full of boxes of Sarah's stuff, complete with recognizable scents.

Laura, who's a rising corporate attorney, had a complicated relationship with her mother and never knew her father. Sarah was involved in the 1970's New York music scene and owned a used record store.

While most of the novel is told from Prudence's perspective, other chapters offer viewpoints of Laura and even Sarah, providing more background information.

Prudence notes: "It's nice having a human around the house... they're very useful for things like opening cans of food, or cleaning a litterbox, or running a brush over your back when your fur gets too itchy..."

Other colorful insights are likely to make you smile; Prudence is an opinionated cat with her own distinctive voice.

Cooper's latest book deals with a variety of relationships  wise Prudence often reads non-verbal signs that ignorant humans may not correctly interpret.

You don't have to be a cat lover to enjoy "Love Saves the Day," but it'll probably help. It's literary catnip, liable to make you high on feline companionship.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, 
has been reviewing books regularly since 1987. 
He's got two cats: Parker, a black three-year-old and Goldie, 
a 15-year-old orange furball.

Want to read this book?
Get your copy at Curious, a locally-owned independent business!

307 East Grand River Avenue, East Lansing

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, February 24, 2013.

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