The Best Cat Ever Hardcover – Nov 1993
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From Library Journal
The story of Polar Bear, the stray cat rescued by Amory in 1978, began with the best-selling The Cat Who Came for Christmas ( LJ 10/1/87) and continued with The Cat and the Curmudgeon ( LJ 8/1/90). It reaches its inevitable conclusion here. However, readers expecting multiple cat stories and a continuation of the Amory-Polar Bear antics may be disappointed. Most of the book concerns Amory's reflections on his life (i.e., his class reunion at Harvard) and his views on humane issues (not surprising when you realize he founded the Fund for Animals). Luckily, Amory is a very readable writer, and he is able to present his sideline comments and musings without appearing to stand on a soapbox. Two highlights of this volume are Amory's response to his classmates' appeal for a donation to their class fund and the final chapter, with his heartfelt perspective on pet loss. Despite its rambling style, The Best Cat Ever will have animal lovers everywhere lapping it up like a bowl of warm milk.
- Edell Marie Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., Wis.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The eponymous feline is, of course, Polar Bear, the stray Amory adopted in The Cat Who Came for Christmas (1987) and celebrated in The Cat and the Curmudgeon (1990). But as the new book opens, the venerable puss has "been with" Amory for 14 years: no one quite knows how old he was when he was snatched from the snow on Christmas Eve. So after Amory strolls down a pre-Polar Bear memory lane--with his usual entertaining tales and ever-so-catty comments about places (Milton Academy and Harvard), people (Kate Hepburn, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and other celebrities), and publications (the Saturday Evening Post and TV Guide)--he gets down to brass tacks: the medical problems that beset man and beast in their later years. Amory and Polar Bear both suffer from arthritis; Amory is hit by a truck; and Polar Bear develops serious kidney problems. As pompous as Amory's prose can be, his love and respect for the critter with whom he lived for a decade and a half are palpable. Expect requests for this final entry in the Polar Bear saga. Mary CarrollSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Now I, like many cat owners, wasn't pleased at the title of the book (as of course, my cats are the best cats ever), although I certainly understood the sentiment expressed. And Amory was prepared for this:
'First, an apology. It is presumptuous of me to title this last book about the cat who owned me what I have titled it. The reason it is presumptuous is that to people who have, or have ever been, owned by a cat, the only cat who can ever be the best cat ever is their cat.'
Amory uses the wonderful tales of his cat and their life together to also recount past glories and silly stories. One such is his time at Harvard, when he and a friend enrolled in a course entitled 'The Idea of Fate and the Gods' because they had heard it would not require much homework, and then were crestfallen to receive a poor grade. This grade was upgraded when the professor was reminded of their undergraduate status. He had a habit of declaring everything good by exclaiming 'Capital! -- a rather typically eccentric observation for Amory to make.
Under the chapter title 'My Last Duchess', he recounts the failed attempt to write the autobiography (I did not make a mistake here) of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor (making particular point to the way it rankled her to never be given the appellation of 'royal').Read more ›
"I shall dwell ... on the past and the fun we had for the fifteen years we had together."
As the reader discovers, this is just not so. As a matter of fact, most of the author's narrative is born of the time before Polar Bear came into his life. Amory remembers his first job. Amory ruefully recounts his brief stint as a Hollywood scriptwriter. Amory tells of his association with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor when he was commissioned to ghost-write the autobiography of the latter. Amory revisits his time as a reviewer for TV Guide. Or, if after, then THE BEST CAT EVER gets hardly more than honorable mention. Amory discusses arthritis and its cures. Amory revisits his alma mater, Harvard. Amory is hit by a truck.
I can't say that this short book isn't entertaining. If I had harbored, before picking it up, any interest in the author, and if the book and been entitled REMINISCENCES OF CLEVELAND (or something of the sort), then I should happily award 4, and perhaps 5, stars. Amory is indeed talented and astute, as when he states of Wallis Warfield's morganatic marriage to the abdicated King Edward VIII:
"If she settled for being a morganatic wife, not only would she not be a Queen, she would have settled for something which, to her at least, sounded all too much like being a peasant."
Amory's dry wit notwithstanding, I can only award 3 stars because Polar Bear, most of the time, just isn't there. The best chapter is certainly the last, in which Cleveland poignantly and sadly describes his beloved pet's last illness and the trauma of having him put to sleep.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
For fans of Cleveland Amory's writings, this book is well worth reading. However, if the reader is expecting stories about Polar Bear, (for the most part) they are not to be... Read morePublished on March 20 2001
A friend recommended this book, despite the fact that I am not a cat lover. Gotta admit, I laughed all the way thru at Cleveland Amory's obsessive love for and dedication to his... Read morePublished on July 25 2000 by Mark Hammer