Author: Helen Brown

Published By: Citadel Press

Reviewed by Melissa Minners and Natasia Minners


            The old adage is “Never judge a book by its cover.”  For the most part, I’ve followed that adage most of my life.  However, when I visited my local bookstore and saw this adorable black kitten with the most penetrating emerald green eyes I’d ever seen on a cat, I was smitten.  I had to have Cleo, which, coincidentally, is the name we attribute to my new kitten’s crazy alter ego. 

            Cleo came into the Brown family’s life at a time when she was really needed.  Of course, no one could know that but Cleo herself.  She had been picked out weeks before a tragic accident that would send the Brown family reeling.  Their eldest son, Sam, picked out the kitten.  Weeks later, he was killed - hit by a car in what could only be labeled a horrific accident.  When the kitten arrived at the Brown home, they had completely forgotten about her and Helen Brown wasn’t certain she wanted the reminder of her dead son in her home.  Fortunately, Cleo knew just what this family needed - a loveable distraction.

            From that day forward, Cleo became the guardian of the Brown family, helping them through the toughest time in their lives and sticking around to see them through other difficulties.  Her antics brought great joy into a household once besot by tears and turned Helen Brown into a “cat person.”

            I couldn’t help but laugh when reading the antics of Cleo, which are very similar to those of our new kitten, Chloe.  We had always joked (prior to ever seeing this book) that the crazy side of her that snatches socks and hurtles herself throughout the house is her alter ego, Cleo.  To read about the same antics performed by a very similar looking cat with the alter ego’s name who lived on the other side of the world was quite funny. 

            I, too, am a believer in the healing power of cats.  I have been through some tough times and each hurdle was met with the help of a caring kitty who could be a shoulder to cry on, offer a much needed massage or heal with the relaxing power of a purr.  Though I can never say I know what it is like to lose a child, I can relate with Helen Brown’s feeling that this cat was sent her way to help her cope with life again. 

            Cleo is one of those books that you will need tissues for.  You’ll laugh until you cry and you will cry along with the book’s author during particularly hard times in her life.  Helen Brown has an excellent comedic delivery and a wry sense of humor that I found refreshing.  Cleo was a tremendously fast, feel-good read and I highly recommend it to all cat lovers out there…and a few non-cat lovers who may just be turned after reading this book.


Natasia's Review

            When my human brought this book home, I was mesmerized by the cover.  After all, it looked like my new roommate, Chloe, but with different eyes.  Having just been informed by Chloe that I no longer exist in the “corporeal” sense, I decided to read this book over my human’s shoulder (how could she know if she can’t see me) and ghostwrite a review.  That’s right, I have a new occupation - Ghost Writer.

            I’m not really sure just what it was my human found so funny about this book.  After all, she actually experiences all of this cat’s antics and more.  And some of the stuff that she found so funny are things that all cats do daily.  I’ll never understand humans.

            As for the healing powers of a cat - I could have told you that a long time ago.  I’ve been doing that sort of thing for years, offering a massage when you are too tense, purring until your blood pressure comes down a notch, snuggling when you are cold, snuggling when I am cold, playing when you need a distraction.  These are things I have provided for years and Chloe is just learning to provide.  Cleo’s behavior in this book is just what is expected from a cat.  Yes, we are the superior race expected to be served by humans, but the reason we are superior is because we provide such a valuable service to those very same humans.

            I will admit, I did chuckle a couple of times reading this book and can understand how an adorable cat at the top of her game could win over a helpless dog person like Helen Brown.  I chuckled at the cleverness of Cleo and her natural ability to know exactly what she needed to do to make this woman her servant.  I marveled at Cleo’s advanced hunting skills.  Not being much of a hunter myself, this cat’s ability to capture so many interesting creatures in addition to socks and other human possessions was remarkable to me.

            I have to say that Cleo is an enjoyable book for kitties to read, but it’s more enjoyable to watch the humans read this novel.  Their reactions alone will be enough to entertain you for a whole day. 


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