On the inside cover of bestselling author Dawn O’Porter’s new novel, at the top there is the definition of a cat lady [n.]; ‘single, independent, crazy, aloof, on the shelf, lives alone…‘ I even googled the meaning of cat lady and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term is informal but is described as ‘a woman who has a lot of cats, especially a woman who lives alone and is considered slightly strange…‘ Sadly this is a well-known stereotype that many of us just accept. Well that is until Dawn O’Porter came along and challenged this derogatory term with her frank and refreshing new book, aptly titled Cat Lady.
Cat Lady is the story of 45 year old Mia. She has been married to Tristan for seven years, is the loving step-mother to nine year old Oliver and the managing director of a jewelry line. Mia also has Pigeon, her 16 year old cat, whom she loves with all her heart and soul. Yet at best, everyone around her only seems to tolerate Pigeon. In an early chapter I was disgusted at how Tristan’s friends treat Mia and her love for her cat, especially in her own home. I was also disappointed at how Tristan fails to really defend his wife. Likewise I was shocked at how Mia accept Belinda in her daily life. Belinda is Tristan’s ex-wife and is determined to put Mia down at every chance she can get. However Mia’s acceptance becomes clear as the novel progresses, and rather than being shocked at disappointed at her sufferance, I understood it and in a sense, even admired her for it.
Yet over a few days a series of horrendous events happen that change Mia’s life for ever. In shock and reeling from the turmoil, Mia is forced to confront the truth of the conventional life she has been living; a life that she chose ‘to play a part‘ so she could hide away from her past. Yet in doing so, she hid her authentic self.
Now is the time for Mia break free from the stifling judgement of society.
Cat Lady is a refreshing story about people’s love of pets, especially cats. It is also a poignant story of grief and a reminder to us all not to be brought down by the derogatory, stereotypical judgements of society. As the narrative wisely states at one point: ‘How cruel to watch people bare themselves so raw…and tell the world how sad and lonely they are. How sad and lonely do you have to be to want to do that to other people?‘
I enjoyed Cat Lady. I found it easy and quick to read, moving and humorous. However I did struggle to relate to Mia at times and if I’m honest, some of her choices and thinking I found not to my taste. You’ll need to read it to know what I mean.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of Cat Lady which was released on 27 October 2022. To read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers also on the tour, please see below.