THE ASTONISHING THING is a book everyone should read, apart
from readers expecting sparkles and unicorns and all things
cute and fluffy. THE ASTONISHING THING is a very important
and serious book about a family facing crises, as seen from
a cat's point of view. Having been the human mother figure
of felines for most of my life, I knew from the onset that I
needed to read that book if only to see if Ms. Ward's views
on how cats might perceive the world corresponded to mine,
and they do; the author understands cats.
THE ASTONISHING THING's narrator is Boo, the family cat.
Boo shares her home with a "Not a Cat", a dog named Jasper;
her human big brother and sister, Jimmy and Mary; Father,
and Boo's Mother. Mother is the sun and the stars to Boo,
her beloved best friend who feeds her on time, pets her as
often as needed and shares her comfortable lap with her.
Then a human baby, Finn, is added to the household. Things
have not always been peaceful in the Sullivan household, but
the day Mother left and did not come back as expected, Boo
knew something was definitely wrong, and in her limited cat
ways, she had to find out where Mother had gone, and who
would now take care of Boo's needs. THE ASTONISHING THING
is a very intense, extremely powerful book that should leave
no one unmoved. Ms. Ward had me so immersed in the story
from the very beginning, I could hardly believe it; the
author seems to really have gotten into a cat's mind, with
little anthropomorphizing, for which I am ever so thankful.
The tone is gentle, soothing in an odd way because Boo
listens and observes without understanding; she senses her
humans' emotions, without the benefit of rationalizing.
Boo's grasp on the situation happens through watching and
adding up the events as they happen until it makes sense to
her, which I thought was perfectly executed.
I thought the use of a cat's perspective was an extremely
clever idea, as Boo is definitely not an objective
spectator: Boo she loves Mother, and believes her to be
perfect; everyone else is superfluous until Boo has to
scrutinize her family and try to understand why Mother has
left. This unique angle shows us how we sometimes are too
selfish to make the right decision without even realizing
it; how we fail to do the right thing because we feel
powerless to act and opt to let the chips fall where they
may. There are several significant messages in THE
ASTONISHING THING, things we should know and do, but miss
due to overanalyzing or simply not seeing the forest for the
Sandi Ward's Boo is a wonderfully intriguing character, and
I am simply astounded that the humans are so amazingly
multifaceted, as they are viewed through the eyes of the cat
who needs to identify the meaning of her humans' behavior
and emotions, and that is how we find out what is and has
been going on. THE ASTONISHING THING is an extraordinary
book, a stunning debut novel, and I cannot wait to see what
Ms. Ward's next book will be like because she is an
exceptionally perceptive author who brilliantly put into
words what life, love, and living are really all about. THE
ASTONISHING THING is truly an astonishing book that will
have a place of honor on my keeper shelf.
In her inventive, sometimes bittersweet, ultimately
uplifting debut, Sandi Ward draws readers into one
extraordinary cat’s quest to make sense of her world,
illuminating the limits and mysterious depths of love . . .
Pet owners know that a cat’s loyalty is not easily
earned. Boo, a resourceful young feline with a keen eye and
inquiring mind, has nonetheless grown intensely devoted to
her human companion, Carrie. Several days ago, Carrie—or
Mother, as Boo calls her—suddenly went away, leaving her
family, including Boo, in disarray. Carrie’s husband, Tommy,
is distant and distracted even as he does his best to care
for Boo’s human siblings, especially baby Finn.
Boo worries about who will fill her food dish, and provide a
warm lap to nestle into. More pressing still, she’s trying
to uncover the complicated truth about why Carrie
left. Though frequently mystified by human behavior, Boo is
sure that Carrie once cared passionately for Tommy and
adores her children, even the non-feline ones. But she also
sees it may not be enough to make things right. Perhaps only
a cat—a wise, observant, very determined cat—can do that . . .
Wonderfully tender and insightful, The Astonishing
Thing explores the intricacies of marriage and family
through an unforgettable perspective at the center of it all.
What a fabulous premise and great review! Thanks! (Kathleen Bylsma 3:58pm November 3)
After reading this review I couldn't believe that its your debut novel, simply hats off and I'll look forward to read some more of your stories... http://www.courseworkclub.co.uk/buycoursework (Gracie Willow 2:04am November 4)