Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family

Helen Brown

Lately, I’ve been on a steady diet of Cormac McCarthy, Shakespeare and Kierkegaard; so when I was given a copy of Cleo, The Cat Who Mended a Family—a book billed as “The next Marley & Me”—I wasn’t expecting much. In fact, I was expecting to have fun hating. Halfway through the third chapter I was crying like a baby in a wet diaper. I admit it, Helen Brown kicked my ass. The writing started out good and just got better. Here she ponders her inability to release the grief she still feels for the loss of her firstborn son: “I longed for sorrow to shrivel and sail effortlessly into oblivion. If an autumn leaf could release the memory of summer and float into nothingness, fearless and with such grace, why was it impossible for me?” If you’re man enough to read a book about a woman who loses a child, and whose heart is healed by the love of a kitten, Cleo will defy expectations.