Hey everyone, it’s been a while. Between Utah and getting back home I haven’t felt like getting properly sloshed but my little sister is about to graduate and I’m partying it up with the parents so woohoo, plenty of mixed drinks including weird martinis and things that are blue enough that I don’t know what to think about them.
This book was Of Cats And Men by Nina de Gramont
Spoiler Free Review: So I’m not sure how much there even is to spoil here. This is a collection of short storiesand I’ll be honest, I’m not big into short stories. Mostly because I’m generally a sci-fi fan and there’s enough world building required for sci-fi that it seems a bit ridiculous to me to bother with all the set up and then only have a few more pages of actual story line before everything is neatly tied up. These weren’t short stories and I was really conflicted. It’s called of Cats and Men because each story features a cat and the woman who loves them. To be quite honest the cats end up being sidepieces to the relationships between the women and their inevitable husbands/boyfriends/fiance’s and to a certain extent I got a little bit tired of the women.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for dramas of the home. There is certainly a place for htem, but with a title like “Of cats and men” I was kind of assuming that it woudlb e something a little bit humorous, and instead we ended up with a bunch of stories about women in happy or unhappy relationships with their men and it felt a little bit trite. There was a story about a woman whose shitty brother and law came to stay for an extended period. There was a story about a middle-class lady marrying a blue-collar working and coming to terms with the kind of life that leads to. There was a story about a woman who had left her first husband, her second husband died and she’s still pining over husband number one (who, oh yeah, she had left).
For me it came down to none of the people being particularly likable. It’s been, maybe two weeks since I read this book and I can’t remember a signle character name. Honesty I only remember the shape of the stories. The one that I remember the most is the one where the lady mentions she skied back in the day and the only reason I remember that is because I was excited because I ski…. And then she ended up being a totally horrible person.
The one story that I wanted to hear more about was the woman whose family had taken in the brother in law. He had clear problems and the woman and her husband were clearly trying to be helpful without knowing the best way to go about it. The wife was irritated that her otherwise perfect life was going ‘not-the-way-she-planned’ while the husband tended to avoid the issues. But the brother in law left a door open and the cat got out… Considering they’re all short stories and it’s maybe 20 pages, and this particular plot point is clearly telegraphed I’m not gonna bother with a spoiler section. But this was the one story where I wanted to know what happened. The story ended with the woman searching for her long lost cat. There’s a question as to whether it will be found… or if it’s lost forever, or dead. There’s a question as to if that will be the final straw for the brother-in-law’s ‘temporarty’ stay… It’s the ones tory where all the characters felt fleshed out and real in a way that I wanted to continue looking at. One story out of maybe six isn’t the best return.
Rating: Like I said I’m skipping the spoiler free section. The stories weren’t connected and when each story is just 20-some apges long I’m not gonna bother. This gets 2 out of 5 stars. Some of this is my own prejudiceof just not enjoying short stories. I didn’t realize that’s what this was going into it, but I wanted to finish it. The stories were just a bit disappointing. The few that were interesting seemed to cut off just at the point where I would have otherwise started to care. The relationships seemed mostly uninteresting to me… For someone else, I could understand this book being enjoyable, but it didn’t fit me.
Drink Suggestions: Oh shit, I really don’t know. It needs to be something suitably stuffy. This book feels like whiskey on the rocks. But not good whiskey. It feels like the kind of whiskey that someone would buy after they’ve decided they wanted to acquire a taste for whiskey, but on a budget. A quick google search says Rebel Yell is a crappy Frat boy whiskey so I’m going with that.