Love Saves the Day
By Gwen Cooper
Gwen Cooper’s new novel is, in a way, the converse of her memoir, Homer’s Odyssey. While Homer’s Odyssey was about Cooper’s life with her cat, Love Saves the Day is about a cat’s life with her humans. The cat here is Prudence, a prim and proper tabby-and-white feline, whose human, Sarah, spent her salad days in New York City’s lively music scene of the late 1970s and 1980s. In fact, Sarah never got past her salad days of financial struggle, and as a result her grown daughter, Laura, gravitated towards security and a life uptown. Prudence is a silent observer of the rocky relationship between the two, and when Sarah does not come home one day, she winds up being taken in by Laura and her husband Josh. Like all but the most intuitive cats, Prudence has no idea what has happened to her human, and she wonders when Sarah will return to her. Little do Prudence, Laura and Josh realize the turmoil that the next few months will bring, as Laura comes to grips with her mother’s death, and with the fact that the only security in life is love.
Far deeper and more satisfying than a mere “cute cat book,” Love Saves the Day is the story of relationships and grief. While most of the book is told from Prudence’s point of view, you also get to spend time in Laura and Sarah’s world — a look back at New York City in the years its Lower East Side changed from a gritty, colorful and dangerous neighborhood into a gentrified and homogenized home for the wealthy. It makes you wonder where the line is between cleaning up a neighborhood and shattering its soul. Because great cities, after all, are like cats — even at their tamest, there is a wild soul that cannot be denied.
Love Saves the Day is sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes devastatingly tragic, and it holds your attention all the way through to its happy ending. For both cats and humans, it is one of this year’s must-reads.
Note: links to Amazon are Associate links — and for the month of January 2013, all Love Saves the Day commissions generated by my blog will go to Blind Cat Rescue