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5.0 out of 5 starsCat person forever
Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2019
For those of us who have loved a cat and watched them leave our lives, I want to say thank you, Miss Brown. You expressed my feelings about my four-pawed kids better than I could have. The cats I have lived with over the years have been the best friends I've ever had. They have nursed me through a broken heart, surgeries and the death of a best friend. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that their love for me is what got me through all the joys and pains of life. As I write this, Miss MiniPurrl is a sleep in my lap and Olive and Annie are lounging in their favorite spots. I know that Rusty, Betty and Wilma are looking down on us from cat heaven still loving us. So, if you have loved a cat or any animal for that matter, read this book. It will warm your heart and help you to say I love you to your kids, living and dead. My life is fuller because of my cats.
I will start off with a quick generalization that I really liked this story. The author, Helen Brown, gives a very direct and honest portrait of her family from her time as a young mother in a struggling marriage to becoming a successful woman who finds the courage to love again in many different facets. I found myself rooting for Helen, mourning with her, and learning about people in all their flawed beauty as she did. And she's just one member of this wonderful family.
Then there is the namesake of the book, and quite possibly the little monarch of the clan, Cleo. Truly something special, Cleo is always there for this family when she is needed most. As the author says, Cleo gives her son his smile back after a horrid tragedy. She is there to stave off depression for Helen in the worst of times, and she even gives a little dating guidance when the time comes. Long after Cleo gives Helen's son, Rob, his smile back, she is there to nurse him back to health when he is hit with a life threatening disease. What got to me most was Rob's dreams in which Cleo told him that she would be there to help him make friends and, much later, when he has a very prophetic dream about what she was sent to teach him in her lifetime.
Overall, I got more out of this book than I expected and was very pleasantly surprised by the depth and candor the author bestows.
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2019
Cleo was a book that takes through a families tragedies and triumphs while allowing us to see how a kitten and cat help them along. Moving through New Zealand and Australia we get to see over twenty years of the family members lives. I recommend this book to anyone who loves people and cats.
I initially chose this book because Cleo looks just like my Milo when he was a kitten. But the story was so much more. I laughed at her antics and cried when she disappeared. But I totally relate to the complete love a cat brings to a family and this story was beautifully told. I didn't want to finish the book because I knew how it would end, but even the ending warmed my heart. I look forward to reading more from Helen Brown.
This is definitely one of the most emotional stories I've ever read. I actually cried near the end. Being a cat lover and cat mom to countless cats, I could certainly identify with it. While all of us face sorrow at times, this family had more than their share, and this is the story of how one kitty helped them through it all. It's a story of tremendous courage.
My son was also hit by a Blue Ford Escort when he was 9 yrs. old. He was badly injured and had to have reconstructive surgeries, skin grafts, etc., but I didn't lose him. Thank God as he is my only child. I didn't know if I could read this book after Sam was killed. I kept going and am so glad I did. I, as did Helen, end up divorced. Something like this really puts a strain on a marriage, some make it and some don't. I never remarried, but have been in a long term relationship for which I am grateful. I could identify with Helen in so many ways. Cleo was a remarkable cat, her gut instincts made things somewhat more tolerable for this family. I really liked this book, lots of inspiration, lessons to be learned, and lots of things to look at differently (as Rob) pointed out while ill. You don't have to be a cat lover to read this book, it's a great read for anybody. I hope that Helen and her family do not have to go through anymore trying times like they have in the past.
5.0 out of 5 starsBut it is joyful fun when Helen and Rob start watching the antics of ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2014
I have to say that this was a difficult book to read. The very real pain and grief that the author endured when her oldest son was killed, is almost unbearable. I had to take it in small doses. But it is joyful fun when Helen and Rob start watching the antics of their new kitten, and learn to laugh again. I was surprised that the editors of the book had let all this raw pain and emotion stay in. But, as I said in my review of the author's second book, 'Cats and Daughters', which in part tells how the writing of 'Cleo' came about--the author had actually deleted the original material in favor of a more upbeat story. It was the editors that encouraged her to put the emotion and pain back in, which actually makes the telling of the story much more powerful. Once I got through it the first time, I re-read it again. I recommend this to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. In the end it turns out to be a story of hope and renewal and joy--carried in on little cat feet.
What a beautifully written book! At times sad, but always touching and so heartfelt. I love what she said about a cat coming into your life when you need it. And changing everything. After I dried my eyes I cuddled my rescue cat, Merlin, for a LONG time! A wonderful book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 23, 2012
Although I do like cats I am more of a dog person, so I was not sure if I would really enjoy this book, but I did! The pleasure of the book starts with the cover and the gorgeous photo of "Cleo" the subject of the story. Inside before the strory commences there are some nice photos of the family. Author, Helen Brown, writes this true account of life with "Cleo" in a very interesting and beautiful way. The reader is taken through the experiences of the family from life just before "Cleo" through to getting her, a family tragedy, marital problems, working and living in another country, additions to the family, growing up, a new relationship and all the ups and downs that any ordinary family experience. All of which include "Cleo" - this little bundle of soft fur that loves and gives strength to her humans and who will always leave her mark. It is a gorgeous book and one that will please even those who are not strictly 'cat people' - just don't read it to the dog!! It is also a story of bravery - the bravery of the family to get through the downs. Can thoroughly recommend and it would make a nice little gift for your cat loving friends too.
5.0 out of 5 starsPoignant, heart-felt and heart-warming
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 16, 2013
As a cat-lover, I purchased this book after receiving an Amazon recommendation. I didn't know anything about the author nor the content apart from the fact that it was about a cat. I couldn't put the book down! It is one of the most moving books I've ever read! It is beautifully written, so very honest and personal yet had me laughing out loud in places. Needless to say it had me sobbing too. Helen confesses at the beginning of the book that she was not a 'cat person' however, her understanding of little Cleo's psychology and behaviour is, in my opinion, spot on. A highly recommended read and you don't have to be a 'cat person' to appreciate it. It was only after I'd finished reading the book that I discovered that it was an international best seller and I'm not at all surprised.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2015
This book was written from the heart. It really did pull on the heartstrings, To have to go through life after losing a child in a tragic accident must have been horrific. The healing powers of the remarkable cat, Cleo is something you'll never forget, Cleo helped Helen and her family to come to terms with their loss. If you have cats of your own, you will understand the pleasure they give, there's a feeling of contentment when a cat is on your lap, purring, soothing away your troubles, worries and heartache. Like me,you'll find that you simply cannot put this book down. It is so well written.
Now this isn't the sort of book I usually read, animal stories OK, people stories no. But this stole my heart. I laughed, cried sobbed like a baby in places. Another reviewer said that one you get to chapter 3, you will be hooked. He was right on the money. The first two chapters just provide background information on Ms Brown and her family, along with the lead up to Cleo joining them.
I'm not going to say it's an enjoyable read but it is a genuinely rewarding read. It is enjoyable in many places but Ms Brown pulls no punches when sharing such an obviously difficult and traumatic period in her life and the reader is right there with her during her darkest moments.
Cleo was obviously a very special cat just as Ms Brown and her family are clearly very special people.
I was tipped off about this book by a friend because of my love of cats. However what I didn't know was how powerful the writing was to be and how my emotions would be whipped to a frenzy. After the first paragraph I realised I could only read this book in private otherwise I was just a blubbering wreck, Not a pretty sight.
The story telling was sympathetic and moved along at just the right pace. I was very upset when the book had to end.