Picking up where "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" and "The Cat and the Curmudgeon" left off, this beautiful new paperback edition continues the story of the cat named Polar Bear and his grumpy, lovable owner.
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 ›