Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter – Book review

Given that I have just read and loved a book called Cat Lady, you might assume I have a fondness for the creatures themselves, but not so much. I would always describe myself as more of a dog person AND YET, that is one reason why Cat Lady is such a great read. Dawn O’Porter makes an excellent case about the often shoddy and negative way people are treated by others, all because they have a love for felines.

Opening sentence: For my 8th birthday my mother made me a cake.

Mia AKA Cat Lady

This is the story of Mia. A woman in her 40s, she is the Managing Director of a small jewellery business, is married to Tristan and goes out of her way to make sure her life runs on routine and order. Above all else though, she is the human of Pigeon, her adored cat, the true love of her life.

I warmed to Mia’s character instantly and found myself tearing up a few times as we learn more about her back-story and as the plot progresses, she faces the unexpected events life throws at her.

She is a complex and beautifully articulated character study of a woman who doesn’t fit into society norms, yet tries so hard to. The way Mia talks about adjusting her character to fit into different situations will be relatable to so many.

Rather than society acknowledging women who are struggling and helping them, they put firm hands on our shoulders and push us into the darkness.

All types of grief

I had an insightful moment reading Cat Lady too. There are scenes set in an animal bereavement group and I found them so fascinating. I’ve never really owned a pet of significance that I was truly attached to, so (I now realise) never fully comprehended the impact that losing a pet can have on a person. Reading about Mia and her friends highlighted the importance of these safe spaces for all kinds of trauma and truly opened my eyes.

‘Cat lady’ is often used as a derogatory term and here Dawn O’Porter (and Mia) takes it, owns it and spins it on its head, showing us that a cat lady is the very best kind of lady.

Funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking, while making intelligent commentary on prejudice and the pressure to conform, Cat Lady is the best blend of emotions and a joy to read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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