Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Zen Of Max (a memoir of great wisdom and many naps) by Lou Belcher


There is a special bond between cat lovers and their cats. Nothing like stating the obvious is there? There is an extra special bond between a cat lover and their cat when they are a part of  a single cat household. There IS a difference.

"The Zen Of Max" is a delightful account in an episodic format (thank you dear husband for that most wonderful assessment when you TOO read this wonderful book this weekend.) You provided the perfect word to describe this most entertaining and touching (not in a weepy kind of way) story of the life of a woman (Lou) and her cat (Max) which spanned the entire 17 and a half years that they were together.

By "episodic" we mean that it is the day-to-day events that matter most that you share with  your special pet. Not one monumental event, but the seemingly mundane every day events that become a vital part of your history together.

I love stories like this because they resonate so strongly with me. For the entire 18 yrs of his life my Angel Bobo was also a part of a single cat household and for many of those 18 yrs he and I lived alone.

You experience a different kind of bond when it is just you and a cat than when there are other cats, dogs, humans sharing the "love".

Lou does a delightful job of conveying that special relationship in this book.

"Max" from Max The Quilt Cat
Max was "an ordinary cat who lived to the maximum" and Lou's description of her life with Max is something that ALL cat owners can relate to, whether they live in a single cat household or not!

The story about Max waiting by the window when Lou would return home from work (even on weekends when she was already HOME) made me chuckle because my Bobo used to do the SAME thing and I thought it was oh so unique!

One of my favorite passages of the book is "Max always lived the life of a pampered cat. I could deny him nothing. Without even realizing it, I rearranged my life around him. But he earned that devotion. He gave as much or more than he received, and that's what this book is about. From it, you will learn much if you read all the lines, between the lines and around the lines."

Lou also captures Max's persona (or purrsona whichever you prefer) in a delightful way. To each of us our cats are unique, they do the most amazing things that certainly no other cats could ever do! (in Max's case the lamp episode was something I NEVER heard of a cat doing and I roared with laughter). Lou goes on to say "Max was more "Max" than he was "cat" or "dog" or any other species. He was a Max, and he didn't think of himself as anything else. He WAS. That's all there is to it."

So philosophically stated and I love it.

Each experience/episode/personality trait that Lou tells us about with her life with Max  is peppered with wonderful quotes, all in the form of a "Lesson Learned" (being a self-described quote freak this was another favorite part of the book for me.) Max taught Lou (and will teach the readers of this wonderful book) many, many impawtant lessons!

Some of them are:

"We're all the same. We are all just the ME of ourselves regardless of species."

"Sometimes it's just about the chase and not really about getting away. It doesn't matter where you're going...it's about going and someone caring enough to follow you."

From "The Zen Of Max"
"Appreciate your loved ones while they are with you. Max sure did that. He led by example. He had a special bond with Mom and he instinctively treated her lovingly. It was something to see and experience."

A particular passage in this book, in my opinion, was the most poignant and summed up not only the book but the relationship that I had with my Bobo for the 18 yrs that we shared. It deeply moved me. I apologize that it is long (and I am only including parts) but it touched me so profoundly that I just had to share.

"For 17+ years Max was my best friend. We bonded that first day. And, I soon found that I could tell him anything and he'd keep my confidence. He put up with me when I was down and calmed me when I was upset. He always loved me, but more than that, he truly liked me. That's saying something; because sometimes we love people, but we don't like them very much."


"Max couldn't talk, but he told me in so many ways that he wanted to be with me....I was honored by a true companion. Some days, I know he wore himself out following me around, but he did it because he really wanted to be with me. There weren't many times that I couldn't reach out and touch him. Who wouldn't feel better with a friend like Max?"


"A pet is a commitment for life. I know Max knew that, but I don't think that's why he showed me unconditional love. I think he just loved....Isn't that the ultimate gift?"









About Lou Belcher: "Lou is a freelance writer, editor and blogger. She devotes time to supporting artists and writers through two of her blogs, and she supports animal adoption efforts through the blog she set up for Max (www.MaxtheQuiltCat.com) A portion of the proceeds from this book will go to agencies devoted to finding forever homes for pets."




To order "The Zen of Max" please visit www.Amazon.com

58 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great book. Mes will have to get Mommy to gets it!
    >^..^<
    Penelope

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  2. That was a really great review and Max will always remain a friend in my heart forever!

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  3. Caren, this sounds like a wonderful book. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  4. This book is on my Christmas list! I can't wait.

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  5. @Penelope, it IS a great book!! I loved it! I hope your Mommy gets it for you!

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  6. @Brian THANK YOU! ((((hugs)))) your sentiment was beautiful as well! I fell in love with Max after I read about him. Wish I would have known him in "purrson"

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  7. @Tucker, it is! You are most welcome! Thanks for reading!

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  8. @Katnip Lounge, YAY!!!!! Can't wait to hear what you think about it! You will definitely love it! :)

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  9. Too funny. I reviewed The Zen of Max in my blog today too. But I have to say, your review is much better.

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  10. OMC you are kidding me?????? I actually had it scheduled for tomorrow...I had emailed back and forth with Lou about it and it was supposed to go up tomorrow but I had it done a day early so I decided to post it.
    I didn't even know!
    I will jump over and read yours!
    Don't say mine is better because everyone gets something different out of the books that they read and WE are all different and that is what makes the reviews good!
    I thank you but I am SURE that yours is as good as better!

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  11. OMC!! We've known Max for ages, we love his blog so much! We'll have to get his book!

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  12. Great review - we will check it out and thanks for the nice comment about our tree. We put red wood bead garland I got years ago on it for an old fashioned look.

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  13. @Rumblepurr I was so happy to do the review and I know you will love the book!

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  14. @cats of wildcat woods, thank you!! I love trees with an "old fashioned" look and that is how my eyes shot right to the red wood bead garland! Beautiful!
    I love when people make garland out of cranberries and the old trees that had popcorn strung on them. Bet the cats would love the popcorn!
    I know you will love the book, you can't be a cat lover and NOT love that book!

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  15. Sounds like a great book. Anyone who has had the honor of sharing their lives with a cat would certainly relate to it. Max sounds like a mix between my Cassie and Moby. (Moby sticks to me like a limpet..lol) I might look for the book to read myself =^..^=

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  16. Thank you Caren to review this book, My mom is really interested. Now all she bought it's cat lover books and after she read your review she said it remind her the book " Dewey's Nine Life "
    Max is a wonderful friend and for sure this book is on her list !

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  17. Mummy is gonna try get that book now. Hey, a Prince and a Princess..........its a furry tale :)

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  18. Caren... Thank you so much. What a wonderful review. Many pawhugs... Max

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  19. Another book on my book list! Oops! I can't catch up with those books I have piled on the table now! Help!!! I need more time : )

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  20. Thank you for this fab review and great excerpts! It's on the top of my christmas wishlist as I type!!! Thank you for the intro to this book and the link too! Take care
    x

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  21. What a great looking read!
    Thanks for your kind words for our Rudy!
    Smoochies!
    ps - we're in Lima-Bean O Hi O!

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  22. @alittlesprite, your Moby sounds EXACTLY the way that Bobo was....EVERYWHERE I went, he was there and Max was the same way with Lou!

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  23. @Mr.Puddy I am sure your Mom will love this book! Am I the only cat person in the world who has NOT read Dewey?????? I have a Dewey book here that I have yet to read!

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  24. @Princess Jasmine, so glad that you popped over! OMC I love "a furry tale"...with the "Cat formerly known as Prince" and Princess Jasmine!

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  25. @Max The Quilt Cat, I am so happy you like it! I only wish I had known you when you were here to pet....I am so happy I have met you now though! You were/(are) a remarkable cat! xoxo

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  26. @Priscilla you are soooo funny!! I have a stack of books and an even LARGER stack of MAGAZINES!! OMC I have magazines from the summer I subscribe to still stacked up! I feel your pain! lol

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  27. @Old Kitty you are most welcome! I actually gave more excerpts for this book than I usually do on a review but I sooooo felt that this book warranted it...glad that you enjoyed the review! I KNOW you will love the book!

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  28. @Parker ((((((HUGS))))) to you! That is so sweet that you came over to visit and I thank you!
    Ohhhhh OF COURSE I know "Lima Bean, Ohio!!!" lol!!!!
    Told ya, I am originally from Cleveland!
    "smoochies" back at ya!

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  29. I prefer "purrsona"...too cute! I will be sure to put this on my list for Santa to bring. Mason was an only kitty with mommy too until Maddy came along to keep him company. He still doesn't like to share!

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  30. Caren, what an amazing review. I have to read that book. It sounds right up my alley.... So much of what you wrote reminds me of Alex....

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  31. Kelly I agree! I like "purrsona" too! Awww so cute about Mason and I love both of your kitty's names....Mason and Maddy!

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  32. @Hilary...thank you! Yes you DO have to read the book. With Alex being your "only" kitty you will DEFINITELY relate! How is Alex feeling?
    I have to go to your blog and find out! xoxo

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  33. The book is for me! It sounds so beautiful. My Charlie Coal talks to me with his eyes, his voice & his body. He has wisdom that sometimes astounds me too! He cheers me with his "hello" as does your blog.
    Thank you.
    x

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  34. No translator on your blog, Caren ? My english is not good enough to read you daily... Thank you for the recommendation, I hope I can find this book at the Village Voice, my favorite american bookshop in Paris (France, not Texas !)...

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  35. I think I must read the book too - I'll jot the details down and look on Amazon tomorrow.

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  36. That's for your review of this book...we've added it to our Christmas list :)

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  37. @wockley, I love what you said about your Charlie Coal, simply beautiful!
    If I can cheer you with my blog then you have made it ALL completely worthwhile with that comment alone....I thank you with all of my heart!

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  38. @colibri, wow I never thought you couldn't speak English well because you type it much better than most who speak English as their native language!
    I am sorry about not having a translator, do other blogs have that? Never heard of having one before.
    The book is available on www.Amazon.com (doubt you can find it in a bookstore in Paris)
    Thanks for sticking with me even if sometimes there are too many words!

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  39. @Hannah and Lucy, let us know how you liked it once you get it! :)

    @SuziQCat, thanks so much!! As I said to Hannah and Lucy let us know how you liked it, I am sure you will love it!

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  40. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, too, and I agree with you: it is different when it's just you and a single cat.

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  41. Great to see you Ingrid! Yep, it definitely is! :)
    I think that is why Cody is so indifferent to me...we have Dakota who is an attention hog! lol

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  42. That sounds like a great review and a great book!

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  43. I am loving this. I would like to have it. It's how I feel about my mom and she about me.

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  44. @mom2acat thank you and YES the book is great!

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  45. @Admiral Hestorb....if you loved this you will LOVE the book. Your one sentence made me have tears in my eyes "It's how I feel about my mom and she about me".....ohhhhh yessssss you will love it!

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  46. Even though I don't have a cat right now, I am so getting this book!

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  47. Peggy cat or no cat being the animal lover that you are you will LOVE this book...trust me...I know you will!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  48. Aunty Caren,
    I agree with you....there's that special bond between a cat and her "slave"....people who don't like cats won't understand this. purrrr....meow!

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  49. I think this one sounds really good!!!

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  50. I love these types of books! Sounds like such an interesting read!

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  51. @Staci, it is great!

    @Ellie and Mom...I love these types of books too...it is a quick read as well. You can read it in one evening and you will love it!

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  52. @Cat In Sydney, I think people who don't like "animals" wouldn't understand! I think people who love animals whether they be a cat, dog or whatever would definitely understand! :)

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  53. Hi, Caren, thanks so much for visiting my blog...I adore Max's blog and have just ordered the book; I have 5 cats now, but had 1 indoor cat, Nikki, for 20 years and she was the biggest loss of my life (1984-2004; she was my baby as I aged from 19-39)...I have recently moved into a new home and am working very long hours (full time/part time jobs), so I don't visit much during the week (schedule my posts ahead), but wanted to let you know I appreciate your visits and comments...I look forward to getting to know you and precious Cody...Take care and have a wonderful week!

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  54. Jacqueline Hi! It is so nice to meet you and you are most welcome! I sooo enjoyed your blog and I love Max's blog as well!
    I am so happy you ordered the book!
    Wow you have 5 cats? I would LOVE to have that many!
    Ohhhh I sooo know how you felt when you lost your beloved Nikki and I am so very, very sorry!!! 20 years is a loooong time!
    You truly grew up with her!
    It was similar with my Bobo and I whom I found when I was in my late 30s and he passed when I was a couple of years past 50...so I truly know! ((((hugs)))
    I don't know how you keep up with your blog (and others) working numerous jobs, I so admire you!
    I completely understand if you can't visit/comment often...I feel so guilty that I am unemployed and can barely keep up sometimes!
    I look forward to getting to know you as well! (((((hugs)))) you take care and have a wonderful week too! :)

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  55. What an excellent review! This sounds like a terrific book!

    Those Browns make my chest hurt:)
    Each year I say I am not going to watch...and each year I still do!

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  56. @jen thank you! The Browns used to make my chest hurt too. I lived in Cleve from 1963 til 2001 so TRUST ME I have ridden the wild waves with the Browns many, many times! I miss that I can barely see them now that I am in Michigan!

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