Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: "Kitty Cornered:How Frannie And Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control Of Our House And Made It Their Home" by Bob Tarte

There couldn't be a better book to feature on National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week than Kitty Cornered: How Frannie And Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control Of Our House And Made It Their Home by Bob Tarte.
don't let Cody's sleeping
lure you into thinking that
this is a boring book.
This book will have you laughing and you
just might shed a tear or two


While thinking about what I wanted to write for this review, I was wracking my brain trying to remember how I first connected with Bob. If memory serves me correctly, it was through a comment he left on Cat Chat or was it through a connection on Twitter? It doesn't matter,  I clicked on his name, and was led to his book. For me, that was a lucky day indeed!

An added "plus" was that Bob resides in Michigan. A fellow Michigander! After reading his book,  an item that I have now inscribed on my bucket list, is to one day be lucky enough to meet Bob (who in many ways reminds me of my husband) and his (oh my she sounds like me!) wife Linda.

Enough of background info. On to this delightful book.

When I am reading a book for review I have what some would call the annoying habit of "dog-earring" pages that are poignant, funny, that will resonate with my readers and a myriad of other  reasons. In many cases, I am lucky if I have a few pages that are "dog-earred", with Kitty Corner I was faced with a problem of epic proportions. THE ENTIRE BOOK IS "DOG-EARRED"!

What to feature!? What to feature!?


Many of you who live in a multiple cat household can strongly relate to the theory of "we do not find cats, THEY find US." You have experience with cats who have entered your world that are some of the best, and others, not-so-much, or others who you KNOW will become your "soul kitty", they just haven't learned that yet.

Meet the "Cast or (CATS) of Characters!" Whom Bob describes with the understanding and love that parents often use to describe their children.

He celebrates and revels in the unique characteristics of each of his cats and has a most profound understanding of what makes all of them unique and has the ability to describe them through the use of colorful language and imagery.

From Bob Tarte's website:



Agnes: Our original cat who wonders where all of the others came from (aka Aggly-wag)
"Agnes" Photo Courtesy of www.bobtarte.com

FrannieNervous white-and-black stray who insists on being petted while she eats (aka Alfalfa Girl, Ferret Face, Francine, The Little Kitty, Miss Pinkie-Winkie Nose, Sunday School Girl, Feline Trotsky)
"Frannie" Photo Courtesy of www.bobtarte.com

LucySnapping crocodile disguised as a ‘diluted tabby’ with a disdain for litter box geometry (aka Fatsy Pats, Lucy Caboosey)
"Lucy" Photo Courtesy of www.bobtarte.com

MaynardPortly tabby on a nonstop wailing expedition (came to us as Mabel) (aka Mr. Cuddle-Wuddle, Rand McNally, Harold the Barrel, Face)
"Maynard" Photo Courtesy of www.bobtarte.com

MoobieAging snow-white cat who sleeps more than Snow White (came to us as Moonbeam) (aka ‘I Want,’ Conehead)
"Moobie" Photo Courtesy of www.bobtarte.com

TinaThorn in Frannie’s side with a periscope tail (aka Teena-Weena, Periscope Girl, Tina Louise, Sis, Lump-a-Bump, Puppet Mouth)
"Tina" Photo Courtesy of www.bobtarte.com


Author, Bob Tarte's first experience with a cat happened when he was two years old. It didn't turn out well, but thankfully that incident didn't sour him on cats.

Some 10+ yrs later when Bob's sister, Joan had SIX animals living in her home, this at-the-time-self-professed "bird person" thought "while owning a couple of dogs seemed normal to me, four cats struck me as borderline crazy. I figured that you might as well just move out into a hollow log as live in a house where there were twice as many cats as people."

Bob's life, and outlook would change with his marriage to animal-lover Linda. His home filled with birds needing homes, followed by a parade of cats, some of which  would possibly be left homeless if he didn't take them in, and one "wild child" feral cat that lived in the woods.

One of a host of things that I loved about this book was Bob's self-deprecating humor and sardonic candor. There are a number of instances where he compares events in his life and that of his cats lives to sitcoms, (primarily from the 50s and 60s).

His humorous and loving descriptions of each of his cats will bring a smile to your face: "she was white with mostly black hind legs that made her look as if she were wearing a pair of tights that were falling down."

As you become engrossed with this book, as I did, you will also observe that  Bob developed an uncanny ability to be able to communicate with his cats. All of them. While sometimes portraying himself with a crusty, neurotic, nerdy exterior, this man possesses a heart as soft as the comfy cushions his cats choose to lay on:

"Partly, she had moved me in the same way that any homeless animal would. But I also recognized a special quality in her that resonated with my own temperament. In my scant few seconds observing her, I had identified a kindred spirit, a creature who in spite of her many strengths was apparently as anxiety laden as I was. She was a shadow afraid of a shadow."


For those who might be of the frame of mind that there is only one "Cat Daddy" who is adept at reading the minds and feeling the souls of cats...think again, there is another "Cat Daddy" in town and his name is Bob Tarte.  He just communicates, loves, learns and understands his cats in a more quiet way, in a more CAT-LIKE way.

Upon his first discovering Frannie the feral cat:
"The merest flicker of eye contact had passed between us. But in the brief instant between the crouching and rocketing away, as my cloudy blues met her metallic yellows, I felt the spark of a connection between us. It was a serious crush, though I had no idea at the time how deeply she would set her hooks in me."

From the Publisher: "Bob begins seeing Frannie and the other cats as unlikely instructors in the art of achieving contentment, even in the face of illness and injury. Bewitched by the innate wildness of domesticated cats he realizes that sometimes wildness and mystery are exactly what he needs."

From the moment you open Kitty Cornered, YOU will be experiencing a "serious crush" both on Author Bob Tarte who will make you laugh, make you think, touch your soul as well as your heart, and the cats who reside in HIS home and in HIS heart. I guarantee they will ALL "set their hooks" deeply into you. By reading Kitty Cornered and learning about Bob and his cats, you will learn more about yourself and your cats than you ever thought was possible.

To learn more about Author Bob Tarte, click here

To purchase Kitty Cornered and other books by Author Bob Tarte, click here






50 comments:

  1. That looks like a great book. I'm putting that on my wish list!

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    1. Andrea it is simply FABULOUS....one of the best I have read. Just fabulous!

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  2. You grabbed my attention when you wrote, Bob Tarte, in the title of your blog. I LOVE Bob Tarte's books! I've read both, "Enslaved by Ducks" and "Fowl Weather". He's humorous, insightful, and thoroughly entertaining. He opened my eyes to the fact that I'm not the only human who has special good night routines for the feathered members of my family! Even though I've never been owned by a cat, I look forward to reading his newest book. -Debbie

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    1. Debbie, are you kidding me!? OMG...so glad you left a comment! I must read "Enslaved by Ducks" and "Fowl Weather"...I am sure they will be as good as Kitty Cornered. You KNOW that I am right then when I said he is a superb writer. I adored this book! lol about the "good night" routines, I have them too! He is so insightful as you said...his humor is wry and he is sensitive at the same time. Such a delight! I am so happy you are going to read Kitty Cornered! Be sure to tell me what you thought of it!

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  3. I look forward to reading this book!

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    1. Georgia it is SUPERB! I am in love with his style....just fabulous!

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  4. Mommy can so relate about "how cats find us". All of us found Mommy!
    We see if we have enough $$$ to buy this book for Mommy. We think it'll make the perfect Christmas gift from us! :)

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    1. I think it would be the purrfect gift and oh yes you will be able to relate for sure!

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  5. I reviewed Kitty Corned a few months back and loved it as much as you did! I got in touch with Bob and Frannie on Twitter and they are as awesome in 140 characters are they are in the book!

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    1. Hi Sparkle! I didn't read it back then because I have had the book for a few months and I don't read anyone's reviews when I know I am going to be reviewing it as well. Yep, I know Bob on Twitter too (and Frannie) and he is just amazing!

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  6. Oh my, he original cat is black like our Cindi Lou and he has the same number of cats as we do (wait, if you count our little foster kitten he has one less). I have to get a copy of this book! Thanks for the review.

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  7. Great review. Have a lovely Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  8. That does sound like such a great book. And what a great review. Well done. Hope you have a great week.

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    1. Marg thanks so much! It IS a great book! Thank you and I hope you have a great week too!

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  9. I just finished this book yesterday. Wonderful review, Caren!

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    1. Ingrid Hi! I finished it on Friday...I have had it for months...you know how that is! You get the books and have to wait to review because you are so backed up lol. Thanks so much!!

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  10. That sounds like a real smile maker fur sure!

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  11. Thankas Caren!
    me now knows what to gets Mommy for Christmas! She loves books.
    Kisses
    Nellie

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  12. Thanks for this great review! My human is definitely going to have a look at the book =^.^=
    Purrs

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    1. you are welcome Texas and I am happy to hear that! You will LOVE IT!

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  13. sounds Like you really enjoyed that book I never have much time lately to read what with Speedy,decorating making christmas cards knitting a scarf for my mum,and a few other projects plus the everyday stuff oh and work phew!,xx Speedys mum

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    1. speedy I feel your pain. I have a GIANT STACK of books here that I have yet to read and I have two blogs and the list goes on and on!! Yes I LOVED the book! xoxo

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  14. Caren, I can't thank you enough for your very thoughtful and entertaining review of my book KITTY CORNERED. My black cat Agnes is on my lap at this very moment, and I'm guessing she approves as well, because she isn't blocking the keyboard as she usually does! And thanks to Debbie, Ingrid, and the always incredible Sparkle for their comments on the book.

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    1. Hi Bob! You are most welcome! As those who know me well will attest to, I don't say ANYTHING that I don't mean. Debbie, Ingrid and Sparkle know me quite well personally and professionally and if I am not behind something I won't say it! They are all fabulous women! Please give Agnes a kiss from me...maybe she smells my Cody through the computer? Thanks for stopping by, that was super kind of you!

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    2. I gave her a hug. She responded with a crabby bleat and hopped down to the floor.

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  15. What a brilliant review, Caren! This book is now on my wish list. Thanks xxxx

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    1. CATachresis I am deeply touched! Thank you!! xoxoxo

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  16. Awwwww what a wonderful cast of characters!! Lovely!! Thanks for the review and intro to this cat daddy book!!! Yay! take care
    x

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    1. Old Kitty you are most welcome! Hope you read it, trust me, you will LOVE IT! xoxo

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  17. We read that book and found it really good, Thoroughly enjoyed it.,

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  18. What a great review!!
    No wonder meeting Bob is on your bucket list.
    He sounds like a true cat lover.
    In other words, just like all of us :)
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Tiger,Treasure,JJ and Julie

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    1. Hi Tillie and Georgia and thank you! Ohhhh myyy he is but he wasn't always! But yes...now..."just like all of us" :)
      ((((hugs))))

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  19. This sounds like a book I would LOVE!!! I'm so glad you reviewed it....and I can't wait to get a copy. This is going to be FUN!!!
    : ) Glogirly

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  20. Wow! Excellently written review! Sounds like a great read particularly your copy with dog ears all over it ;)

    Waggin at ya,
    Roo

    PeeS: Cody, you and Dakota won my Barkbox/Meowbox Giveaway! :D Shoot me an email when you get a chance so I can get it to ya. 1roodog(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Ohhhh wooooooooooooo hoooo Roo!!!! OMC! Dakota and I are soooooooooooooo excited!! Thank you!! Will email you now!

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  21. Sounds like a great book =)
    My brats would like me to read it so I can pick up some good servant tips!

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    1. Maggie you should read it for sure! You will LOVE IT!

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  22. Looks like an interesting book, Caren!

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  23. oh thank you for reading so many books Caren. Mom has two already lined up to take with her on her Kindle but will add this one. She and Dad are going to Mexico next week to our timeshare, I don't get to go...pouting has already commenced!

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    1. lol savannah...you are welcome but that made me laugh. You should see what I get mailed to me. It's crazy, completely crazy. I'm losing what little is left of my mind. Your Mom is soooooooo lucky!!! Uh oh...what are you going to do without her???

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  24. Loved your review! Every word! I looked up the websites and read them, all he does is simply amazing!
    Also fould the mystery book website where you can get a special hardcover of the book. The bookclub membership requirements is considerably less than it used to be. I was pleasantly surprized.

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  25. Connie Marie thank you!! I am so happy that the review inspired you to check out more of Bob's work :)

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