The kitten, Sam’s kitten, didn’t belong in our house. It had arrived like E. T. in a space ship (disguised as Lena’s patchwork bag). The kitten was from another time. We were different people when Sam was with us and our lives were whole. Now that we were broken, frayed remnants of our former selves there was no place for a kitten. Not with us.
When Helen brown’s nine year old son wanted a kitten, Helen wasn’t so sure. She just wasn’t a cat person, and with two sons, a husband and a dog, she didn’t need anything else in her life. But Sam pleaded, and Helen gave in. The kitten would be delivered as soon as it was big enough to leave its mother. But, before the kitten would arrive, Sam was run over and killed. And when Helen’s friend Lena delivered the kitten, Helen was sure it couldn’t stay. Helen’s other son, Rob, had other ideas, smiling for the first time since his brother’s death.
Soon, Cleo was part of the family, a family that had been shattered by its tragedy. Over the years that followed Cleo taught the family to smile and even to laugh again, overseeing the birth of more children, the breakup of one marriage and the eventual event of another – even a move to another country.
Cleo: How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family is a tender, honest and uplifting look at how one family has lived beyond the loss of a child, and the role of a small black cat in that family’s survival. Whilst dealing with some truly sad events, this is ultimately a feel good book.
Cleo: How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family, by Helen Brown
Allen & Unwin, 2009
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