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The Book Report A family devastated by loss takes in a little black mutt kitten and learns painfully and slowly and with much trouble to "live the lives they ve been allowed to keep despite the life that was lost Marriages "the lives they ve been allowed to keep despite the life that was lost Marriages and end relationships resemble the ones they began as not at all and through it all for a remarkable twenty four years a proud black cat runs the entire world from a succession of Kiwi then Aussie kitchens living rooms and Asian run delis One day she dies and the pain of loss renews its hold on the current family configurationgently clawlessly and with a sense of the rightness of life even in the absence of our dearly dearly belovedMy Review I know that the publisher feels this is superlative writing It s plenty good enough to tell the author s story It s not lighting up the literary firmament But the story is the star here It s touching and it s heartfelt it s amazing how honest one can feel the author being and it s uite endearing how exasperated this woman spends her life being with her lot in lifeReading about loss is always problematic for those who have suffered itI lost my own son at an early agebut let me tell you now that grief and grieving end up being the constants of life so it s a damn good idea to get the coping techniues of others into your head and stat You could do a lot worse than start hereThere is a moment near the end of the book one which for obvious reasons I won t go into in a review but that moment that single page and a half would make this book worth the US16 it costs Peace descends on us in the oddest ways at the strangest times and there is absolutely no earthly in the oddest ways at the strangest times and there is absolutely no earthly between the ease and the suffering it replaces Unearthly connections well those I am not ualified to analyzeSo then I hear you thinking why d you give the book a mingy three stars It s about a cat That s unforgivable Cleo The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown 292 pages On January 21 1983 a tragedy would occur to Helen Brown and her family her 9 year old son would be killed when he was run over by a car A couple weeks later Cleo a rambunctious little kitten would enter their world and change it for the better She would be there to comfort them through the death of Sam She would also be there to witness divorces kids marriage and much This book was suggested to me by my therapist I have two things in common with this woman I lost my son given in a very different matter but the loss of a child isthe loss of a child and have my cat who has been a great relief to me through this year I actually have two cats but only one likes to acknowledge my existence without the assistance of food being involved The day I "Went Into Labor It As Was If "into labor it as was if cat knew something was wrong before I did He laid his paw gently on stomach and wouldn t leave my side but would never lay on me as I was in terrible pain After coming home from the hospital he stuck by my side and 10 months later continues to be a great source of comfort I really enjoyed and appreciated this book so much What this woman writes was soothing to me because it was nice to know someone felt the anger and the sadness I felt She writes wonderfully She is descriptive and honest from beginning to end I have read complaints from people who felt the cat Cleo wasn t as much as a focus as they had wanted and I can see that But for me it was about so much It s about finding the beauty and oy in the little things It We're ust going to look Helen Brown had no intention of adopting a pet when she brought her sons Sam and Rob to visit a friend's new kittens But the runt of the litter was irresistible with her overlarge ears and dainty chinWhen Cleo was delivered weeks later she had no way of knowing that her new family had ust been hit by a tragedy Helen was. About resilience and courage to move on with life It s about showing emotions and having hope It s about a cat and her love for her family People are regularly telling me I should stay away from these books that I should read happy upbeat stories But it is these books that help me the most because for those 300 pages I m with someone who understands and isn t that what anyone wants To be understood If you re a cat lover I think you will enjoy this book but be prepared that it s than ust a STORY ABOUT A CAT AND YOU about a cat And you want a tissue or two while you re at it I love reading books about cats and enjoyed this one about the wonderful Cleo who helped a family from New Zealand to recover from the tragic death of their eldest son and subeuent difficult family times Cleo was uite a character and I cried at the end of the book when she died at a stately old age A recommended read for cat lovers Helen Brown took her animal loving son Sam to see a litter of kittens as he badly wanted one for his upcoming tenth birthday The only kitten left is the runt a tiny little scrap of black fur Naming her Cleo it is arranged that the kitten would be dropped off to Sam in a few months time when she was old enough to leave her motherSam s love and total fascination in animals leads to a horrific accident Shortly after his birthday while rushing an injured bird to a vet s he runs out in front of a car and is killed The family is devastated for Helen the grief is almost too much to bear A few weeks later there is a knock on the door and Cleo is delivered Helen insists that the kitten be taken away as she is no longer wanted but when Helen turns around and sees her younger son Rob smiling and cuddling Cleo she agrees to keep the kitten Cleo is like a little whirlwind leaping from one moment of mischief to another doing what comes naturally to kittens ruling the roost Yet in amongst the impishness there is wisdom and compassion beyond human ken in this tiny furry companion She knows when cuddles are needed she knows when to distract from the depths of despair After a while she not only heals their hearts but allows them to move on with their lives Rob is convinced Cleo tells him stuff in his dreams that he will find friends and everything will be ok It certainly appears that for the whole of her 24 years of life Cleo brings the right people into their lives at the right time As a marriage ends a career blossoms love blossoms and illness strikes Cleo is right there front centre and in their faceHelen Brown writes with a down to earth approach and never allows the story to "get overemotional or melodramatic even when tragic events "overemotional or melodramatic even when tragic events Helen s story is about recovering after personal tragedy and the power of animals in that process it is both heart rending and very funny sometimes on the same page But it is honest and from her very soul I recommend CLEO HOW AN UPPITY CAT HELPED HEAL A FAMILY as it brings to the forefront the uncanny knowledge of our furry friends the patience and restorative power of animal love Yet another book that I tried really hard to like When the author is talking about Cleo the book gets interesting even if she does anthropormorphise her pet Otherwise there s plenty of self pity whining and a backhanded slap to the good people of Christchurch New Zealand While I can understand the author is understandably grief stricken and mourning at the loss of her eldest son she also fails to Sure she couldn't keep her until she saw something she thought had vanished from the earth forever her son's smile The reckless rambunctious kitten stayedThrough happiness and heartbreak changes and new beginnings Cleo turned out to be the unlikely glue that affectionately held Helen's family together Rich in wisdom wit heart and healing here Cleo AUTHOR Helen BrownEe the agony the rest of her family is going through This one ust gets three stars from me as much as I liked Cleo the cat there ust wasn t enough to carry the book Only somewhat recommended For the longer review please go here So sad story my grandma gifted me this book for my 8th birthday because she thought the kitten on the cover was cute BUT she didn t read the description and THUS RUINED MY CHILDHOOD I don t think 8 yr old maddi was prepared to experience secondhand the traumatic death of a son So #may this be a lesson folks always read the description of a novel # this be a lesson folks always read the description of a novel "else you too may end up with deep seeded emotional issues I was "you too may end up with deep seeded emotional issues I was captivated by the book Cleo when I unpacked it among the many others received that day at the bookstore I couldn t help but be instantly charmed by those brilliant green eyes as I removed the packing paper however I wasn t ready to read the book My mother had been extremely ill for months and really I wasn t ready to read any book A week before my mother lost her battle with lung cancer I bought Cleo and in the days that followed my mother s death I sought solace in the only way a booklover can Cleo rekindled my passion for reading againHelen s own loss and the brave ability to share her pain helped me find the healing light in the darkness of my own grief Reading Cleo comforted my sould yes I cried but I also laughed and once again focused on the beauty of Life Although emotionally exhausted after reading Cleo I was also elatedCleo sits on the top of my bookself with my most treasured volumes Her green eyes welcome all who come into my home naturally finding a place in the hearts of anyone who gazes back into them I debated between four versus five stars I went with the five for two reasons 1 I was dreading getting to the end and not being able to read That s a solid good reads endorsement I d say 2 The Ms Brown s story truly made me stop and think about my life what I consider important how precious the gift of time is etc Plus the book did make me laugh out loud a few times that was when I wasn t snickering over the antics of Cleo the cat Even I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I m not a cat person dogs rule but I sure was sad I never had a chance to meet CleoI considered reading this with my kindergartner but the uick reality check on ust how fleeting life can be stopped me especially since I didn t know how it would play out I think most of it is child appropriate though so we could always keep that part succinct and delve in once Cleo enters the picture permanentlyI have to say the letter from the Superman Hero made me sniffle and the way the grief over Sam is detailed leaves you raw and aching inside So many books like this gloss over the sadness as time marches on but throughout the book I felt connected to Sam If you need an enjoyable albeit tragic at times book to make your life better I highly recommend Cleo I greatly appreciated Helen Brown s writing style It was steeped in authenticity and was able to blend tragedy and humor seamlessly I started off really liking this book but about halfway through "the focus changed It became less about how Cleo helped the family and about Brown "focus changed It became less about how Cleo helped the family and about Brown divorce and second marriage Cleo was thrown in the scene a few times Like the best cat memoirs this is much than a story about a kitten Helen Brown s writing ranges from heartwrenching to heartwarming with huge doses of hilarious thrown in Read this. S the story of a cat with an extraordinary gift for knowing ust where she was needed mostA remarkable memoirI realized that Helen Brown didn't break my heart at all she opened it Beth Hoffman New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee HoneycuttAn absolute must Cat WorldThe next Marley Me Even non cat lovers will be moved Good Housekeepi.