Title: The Cat
Author: Edeet Ravel
Publication Year: 2013
Date Completed: April - 2013
Don't roll your eyes based on the title on this novel, as it's just not another story about a cat. It's actually a story about loss, grief and moving forward. A work of fiction that almost feels like it's based on a life experience, the story is about a woman named Elise who loses her only child, her eleven-year old son in a tragic accident.
Mother and son lived in a remote area of Ontario in a cozy little cottage perfect for just the two of them. Elise is an artist, and although we never learn the name of her son, which kind of bothered me, we did learn that he was a smart, gentle boy who loved nature and animals. He was doing what he loved, searching in the tall grass for something that moved, when he was struck by a car and killed instantly.
Though it is said that many people find extra strength when they need it the most, Elise was not one of those people. She couldn't deal with what needed to be done and instead called her ex-husband to take care of all of the final arrangements. Almost immediately she drifted into a paralyzing grief that made her want to end her own life as well, but then something happened. Her son's cat Pursie, who was adopted from a shelter two years earlier was constantly at her side, often purring loudly. Something eventually clicked and Elise realized that her son would be very disappointed if she was not there to care for Pursie.
Over a period of seven months, Elise leads a life of isolation. She closes her email account, and cuts herself off from the living -- just her and Pursie, until finally she realizes that life goes on however painful the past may seem.
I found this story pretty powerful, but Elise was a character I could not warm up to. Although Pursie was the reason she never ends her life, the story is never about "the cat". It's really a story about loss, pain, grieving and finding a reason to keep going after tragedy strikes -- in this case "the cat". Overall this was a short yet memorable read, one that would be a good choice especially for someone who has lost a child.