Synopses & Reviews
Bob Tarte had his first encounter with a cat when he was two and a half years old. He should have learned his lesson then, from Fluffy. But as he says, “I listened to my heart instead, and that always leads to trouble.” In this tell-all of how the Tarte household grew from one recalcitrant cat to six—including a hard-to-manage stray named Frannie—Tarte confesses to allowing these interlopers to shape his and his wifes life, from their dining habits to their sleeping arrangements to the placement and furriness of their furniture. But more than that, Bob begins seeing Frannie and the other cats as unlikely instructors in the art of achieving contentment, even in the face of illness and injury. Bewitched by the unknowable nature of domesticated cats, he realizes that sometimes wildness and mystery are exactly what he needs.
With the winning humor and uncanny ability to capture the soul of the animal world that made Enslaved by Ducks a success, Tarte shows us that life with animals gives us a way out of our narrow human perspective to glimpse something larger, more enduring, and more grounded in the simplicities of love—and catnip.
"Journalist Tarte (Enslaved by Ducks) and his wife, Linda, already live with a menagerie of cats, rabbits, and birds. When new cat Frannie a 'wild child from the woods' arrives, things are taken to a 'whole new level of catdom.' Loosely arranged according to the chronology of Frannie's entry into the family, the chapters in this loving but tedious book are essentially a series of vignettes about several of the household's most prominent animals: Moobie, a sweet, aging cat who has a cancer scare; Lucy, a cat so grumpy that she 'was a strong argument against ever taking in another living creature'; a group of unpleasant chickens; and an affectionate duck named Victor. The narrator is chatty and affable, up early in the morning to chop fruit for the birds, attentively holding one cat's water bowl 'like a sommelier with a dish for her to sample.' Nevertheless, the lack of tension causes the story to drag. Though the circumstances of this household are unique and offer opportunities for chagrin and slapstick, the book's narrow scope will appeal only to the most devoted readers of pet narratives. Agent: Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Bob Tarte wrote for The Beat magazine for twenty years. He has also written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Miami New Times, the Whole Earth Review, and other publications. He hosts the What Were You Thinking? podcast for petliferadio.com. He and his wife Linda live in Lowell, Michigan, and currently serve the whims of parrots, ducks, geese, parakeets, a rabbit, doves, hens, one turkey, and way too many cats.