"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Cat Who'll Live Forever (book review)

Now that my cat Sugar is gone, but will live forever, my thoughts have returned to this book, which I reviewed for SLJ. I suspect that having read it helped me deal with Sugar's illness when it came. It's the third book Peter Gethers wrote about his cat Norris (and their life together) and they're all wonderful. This one came out just days before 9-11 (in an Afterword to the later paperback edition, Gethers  discusses this circumstance) and because the nation's attention was so riveted elsewhere, it didn't get the attention it deserved (the earlier volumes were bestsellers, I believe) but I trust that readers of the earlier books at least found it and that future readers will continue to find all three "Norton" books. So - here's how a real writer does justice to a cat:

The Cat Who'll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human by Peter Gethers (2001)

Norton, the urbane yet humble Scottish Fold, became famous as The Cat Who Went to Paris (1992) [published in the UK in 2009 as A Cat Called Norton]. He continued his adventures in Provence and other glamorous places, in A Cat Abroad (1994) [published in the UK in 2010 as For the Love of Norton] -- but, to the disappointment of his many fans, took early retirement at the age of 10.

Here, Gethers reveals the details of the feline's final years. Norton travels less than in the first two books, but he does still make an occasional appearance at Spago, takes the Concorde to Europe, and upstages film stars from Paris to the Hamptons. Though kidney failure and cancer slow him down and ultimately defeat him, Norton never loses his charm, composure, or talent for making the most of his life.

In his old age, Norton makes a farewell tour of all his favorite spots, undergoes medical procedures with dignity, and enjoys the sun on his preferred park bench--inside a most amusing dog run in New York City.

Though it's clear that Gethers has a high-powered career, he manages to portray himself simply as a callow fellow blessed with an awesome cat. As Norton's health problems gradually take over both their lives, the author learns how to care for an invalid and, ultimately, to mourn the death of a loved one.

Those who knew Norton when he was young will be grateful that Gethers shared this story. Others can find a different perspective here on medicine, aging, friendship, and grief; the value of humor; or just the meaning of life.

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