Thursday, December 3rd, 2009...1:22 pm

A Year of Cats and Dogs by Margaret Hawkins

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catsanddogsSo often magical realism sounds like a children’s book, yet the books are so much more than the summary.

  • Metamorphosis: Man wakes up one day as cockroach. Problems ensue.
  • Time Traveler’s Wife: Librarian time travels randomly. Romance is complicated.
  • A Year of Cats and Dogs: Woman discovers she has animal telepathy. Life changes.

At the beginning of A Year of Cats and Dogs, Maryanne’s partner of ten years has left her for a job in another city. Philip takes what is important to him (his clothes), but leaves his furniture and their two pets, a dog and a cat. Maryanne decides to go AWOL from life. She quits her job (writing slogans for resin statuettes!) and decides to just be, live off her savings, do some freelance work, volunteer. Her life is quiet.

One day in the pet store Maryanne hears a Poodle thinking, and he hears her answering.

Maryanne’s new power makes her very valuable as a volunteer at the animal shelter, giving comfort to sick and lonely animals. Her life evolves.

Hawkins builds honest emotion without overemphasis, and allows the strong characters of both people and pets drive the story. She is darkly humorous on the serious matters of loneliness, aging and death. Self-consciously absurd recipes (Chicken Soup for the Sad, Quitting Your Job and Vowing to be Frugal Stew) add lightness to this ultimately hopeful tale.

Check on the availability of A Year of Cats and Dogs in the John Tyler Community College Library (or place a hold if the book is not available.) Call the library if you need help (594-1520.)

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