This sweet little book, Home With Henry A Memoir, by Anne Kaier with lovely black and white illustrations by Carol Chu is a beautifully written true story. The book is a journal covering eleven months beginning in March 1997. It begins with Anne stopping traffic to rescue a small ginger cat from the middle of a busy road at rush hour. With each entry we learn more about this feral cat, his human, Anne, and female feline housemate, Lucille, a 12-year-old calico.
The journal follows Anne, a single woman in mid-life who has just purchased her first home, as she slowly gains the trust of this very frightened feral cat, she names Henry. We meet Anne’s colleagues, neighbors and family, especially her nephew Tommy, all while learning more about her as a single and sensitive career woman, first-time homeowner and inexperienced “tamer” of a wild cat.
So many things Anne writes in her journal about her relationships with Lucille and Henry resonate with me. On Monday, August 11, (five months after rescuing Henry) she writes: “Certainly these cats amuse me. Even their territorial negotiations—if I can call them that—intrigue me. And I love the very dailyness of having them around.”
She adds, “I love all the to-ing and fro-ing—the small commotions in the house, the sense of living my life alongside two other lives, with creatures who have their own ideas about things.”
As the caregiver of eight cats, I feel this same way every day.
And I can relate to what Anne was feeling (after she and Henry had bonded) when she wrote in December about Lucille, “Perhaps…I can figure out how to woo her again. Because I have lost her—almost. She’s about to sue Henry for alienation of my affections.”
She concludes this journal entry by writing, “Looking back, it seems wooing Henry was much easier than this new project of reclaiming Miss Lucille. She used to chat with me every day. I feel so lonesome without her.”
I have experienced this each time we have added a cat to our family.
The lessons Anne learns about herself through her interactions with her cats are life changing.
I don’t want to say much more, as I highly recommend that everyone who has ever shared their life with one or more cats read Home with Henry. Not only is it a beautifully and well-written book but also a tribute to both Henry and Lucille.
Anne Kaier holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Today she teaches creative writing and literature at Arcadia University and Rosemont College. She lives in Center City, Philadelphia. You can learn more about Anne on her website at: www.annekaier.com.
Home With Henry A Memoir can be purchased from Amazon.com for $13.50.
NOTE: Our post is the final stop on an on-line book tour. To read any of the previous reviews, you can visit the following sites:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Home with Henry A Memoir in exchange for this review. I was asked, but not required, to link to Amazon.com and list the other stops on the tour. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.