Thursday, October 8

"Jennie" - Paul Gallico

"Original, humorous, poignant, compassionate, Jennie has become a classic of its kind.
It relates the unforgettable adventures of a small boy changed into a stray cat and befriended by the indomitable Jennie, who initiates him into the lore of London's streets.
The Times Literary Supplement said: 'Jennie has the same simplicity as The Snow Goose; it is, like its forerunner, a family book, and as such deserves the same success.' "

I showed this blog to a friend at uni today, and she asked me which was my favourite book. I mentioned I hadn't actually reviewed it on here (and so I decided to remedy this immediately), and then proceeded to tell her what the book was about.
Unfortunately, when you try to describe Jennie to other people, this is another example of a really great book with Stoopid Plot syndrome:
"It's about a boy called Peter who sort of turns into a cat...and he meets up with another cat...and they go on all these adventures together."
Even though it sounds ridiculous, this is such a gorgeous story which I have read approximately 14, 753 times. It's one of those rarities that can transcend age boundaries, in my opinion, since children can enjoy the fantastical premise and the adventures of Peter and Jennie, while adults appreciate the gentle storytelling and cat-person references.
And oh man, I am definitely one of these 'cat people'. In fact I think I'm starting to sound like an old woman. Living alone. With fifty cats.
I have a feeling non-cat-people wouldn't appreciate the majority of this book, since it focuses so directly on cat behaviour. The author was a keen cat lover and wrote quite a few books featuring felines and their foibles (other examples include Thomasina and The Silent Miaow). However for cat lovers, it's a real treat to read about Jennie's careful tutelage to the newly-transformed Peter about how to behave like a proper cat - it's full of little moments of recognition, when you realise your cat does everything Jennie describes, to the letter.
It's an older book, with some subtle humour and more than a few lines of thickly accented Scottish speech (och aye) that some people might find difficult to understand, and one particular part of the story nearly always moves me to tears. It's also one of my favourite books.
Go read it. (Unless you're a dog person.)

RATING: Incredibly sweet, warmly told, and generally just a great story. 5 STARS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"och aye" LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
this sounds really cool! i really wanna read it after checking out your review =]
oh and i know exactly what you mean by the stoopid plot thing. like when i try to tell people about Arlene's Heart.
"it's about a girl that turns into a doll...and she feels a lot...and never wears clothes...but it's a really beautiful book!"
oh dear.
and hey - isn't that the same spelling of your jennie cat?