It was so difficult to sit down and write my review for this book. There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, it was one of those books that didn’t spark a conversation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t like it, but it felt like something I’ve read before, not bringing anything new to the table. And secondly, even though I did enjoy this book, I didn’t feel compelled to make other people read it.
«They Call Me the Cat Lady» was a fun, sad and mysterious book. The plot twists were intriguing and I did want to find out more about Nancy Jones’ past, but at the same time, it wasn’t anything extraordinary.
You’ve seen me on the street. You’ve walked past my house, and pointed, and wondered. The cat lady. All on my own, with only my five cats to keep me company. Did no-one ever tell you that you can’t judge a book by its cover?
Everyone in town knows Nancy Jones. She loves her cats. She loves her tumbledown house by the sea. She loves her job in the local school where she tries to help the children who need help the most. Nancy tries hard not to think about her past loves and where those led her…
Nancy never shares her secrets – because some doors are better kept locked. But one day she accepts a cat-sitting request from a local woman, and at the woman’s house, Nancy sees a photograph, in a bright-red frame. A photograph that opens the door to her painful past…
Thank you Netgalley and Bookouture for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
In «They Call Me the Cat Lady» we follow Nancy Jones, the lonely local woman, who works at school, lives alone in her small house with five cats which she names after the people that meant a lot to her, the people she misses: Ted, Elise, William, Tabitha, and Bea.
Nancy is the local cat lady, someone who the neighbors can reach out to when they need an “animal-sitter”, or to whom they will take the stray kittens. But she is also known to be the “odd-one”. She keeps to herself, spends her evenings alone and doesn’t have many friends.
Why did I pick this book up?
It was publicized as «A heart-wrenching and heart-warming story of love lost and found, and of second chances, They Call Me The Cat Lady is perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.»
As you know, Eleanor Oliphant is my favorite book and I’ve been on a hunt for similar novels for over a year now. So far, «They Call Me the Cat Lady» is the closest one I’ve found, however still not as good.
Although Nancy Jones isn’t as odd as Eleanor, she has some dark past that she isn’t ready to face. That’s why she keeps to herself, afraid that people might find out and judge her, or that the memories will rush back with the force she won’t be able to deal with.
So when it comes to comparing these two books Eleanor Oliphant is definitely my favorite. It’s darker, it’s more character-focused. While, «They Call Me the Cat Lady» is a slightly lighter version, with fewer oddities and more haunted past memories, not only Nancy’s but some of the side characters as well.
Even though I enjoyed this book and gave it a 4-star rating, there were some things that didn’t sit well with me.
1 – The first one is the portrayal of Nancy as a cat lady of the town. If you search for the definition of “cat lady” you might find something like:
a woman who has a lot of cats, especially a woman who lives alone and is considered to be slightly strange.
That’s exactly how Nancy was shown. I understand that the message of this book is “don’t judge the book by its cover”, and that by the end of the story Nancy miraculously turned into a completely different person. But I still didn’t like how the “cat lady” was used negatively as if it’s something to get rid of and improve on.
2 – Another thing that I didn’t like was the relationship between Nancy and her ex-husband. Especially the way she let herself be treated, how she couldn’t stand up for herself or have more faith in her own abilities.