The Christmas Cat by Melody Carson
Garrison Brown has been back in Seattle nearly a year from his nine-year mission term in Uganda. Most of this time was spent recovering from a bout of malaria, getting his feet back under him, and finding his way in life. Besides getting a job, he needed to spend some good quality time with his grandmother. He planned to do that this Thanksgiving. When he was twelve, he lost both parents in an accident; his Grams took him in and he lived with her until after his high school graduation. After he left for college, she took in a cat as a companion. Over the next sixteen years, it became seven cats.
Shortly after he decided this, he received a call from his grandmother’s attorney. Grams had passed away that morning, and Garrison needed to drive down to get information about her estate–especially about her cats. Poor Garrison, unfortunately, was allergic to cats. Badly. Even armed with anti-histamines he almost made it up to his old bedroom before his eyes started to water, he was sneezing and coughing and struggling to breathe. What he learned from Mr. Miller was that his grandma had strict stipulations about how Garrison was to place her cats into good homes. It would require quite a bit of work on his part. She definitely did not want them taken to a shelter. So Garrison’s cat adventures began.
One of the requirements laid out in the instructions and lists was to find the cats homes within the neighborhood. So Garrison’s first step was to create some posters. As he was putting them up, he met Cara, a neighbor about his age. He explained about the cats and she wanted to look at them. He met her at the house. She fell in love with Harry, a Maine Coon cat–an intelligent breed. But once he started to go through one of Gram’s lists, it became apparent she wasn’t qualified to adopt one. Cara was disappointed and treated Garrison to a cold shoulder after that. He learned through that experience to go through the list of requirements first, before allowing the prospective owner to see the cats.
Still, it was through Cara’s references that Garrison found good homes for three of the cats in the next few days. In fact, he discovered more than just a place to live; he re-discovered the neighborhood. One person who took a cat home helped him select colors to paint the walls in his grandmother’s home. Another person, recently retired and restless, lent him a hand and some tips with some repair jobs around the place. Ruby, his grandma’s best friend, loaned Garrison her grandson who turned out to be a good worker and handy about the house. And still another one who adopted one of the cats loaned him some furniture to replace the cat tattered ones he had to throw out. It was like weaving a tapestry of friendship. Garrison, feeling somewhat lost since his return from Uganda, was learning how to fit into a neighborhood family.
I also enjoyed the light element of romance in the story. Garrison was attracted to Cara, although she barely acknowledged him after she was turned down for a cat. He thought she was involved with her neighbor, David. Yet he continually ran into her on his rounds through the neighborhood, and he kept up hope for awhile.
This light-hearted, short 169-page novella is a fun read. It has colorful characters, cats, wit and humor, cats, light romance, and cats. It’s just the right book for cat lovers to read during a busy Christmas season. It would also make a nice Christmas present.
The overall holiday theme is charming in this book. It is not overpowering, but lends atmosphere. In the meantime, the reader is kept guessing which of the six cats was referred to by the book’s title as the Christmas Cat. We don’t find out until we reach the final pages.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Revell’s reader’s club blog review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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