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Sleeping with Cats

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  390 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Marge Piercy, a writer who is highly praised as both a poet and a novelist, turns her gaze inward as she shares her thoughts on life and explores her development as a woman and writer. She pays tribute to the one loving constant that has offered her comfort and meaning even as the faces and events in her life have changed -- her beloved cats.

With searing honesty, Piercy te
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 24th 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published December 24th 2001)
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Mar 05, 2010 Zinta rated it really liked it
An honest writer will admit that everything that he or she writes, down to a grocery list, is in some form autobiography, revealing the author's sense of life, core values, interests. The art of literary expression, like any art, is a self-portrait, and the higher the level of quality, the truer we have been to ourselves. When a book reads flat or false, suspect a lie.

When Marge Piercy writes—and she writes like nobody’s business, having to date published 17 novels and 17 collections of poetry—
Jun 13, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it
Marge Piercy is a fascinating person. We are almost the same age, and in many ways our experiences overlap. We lived in San Francisco at the same time. Back in the 60s she led the life I then wanted to lead. I'm sort of glad it didn't happen, given the complications of Piercy's life. More fun to read about it. Interesting how she weaves the stories of her cats through the stories of her life.
Maria Longley
Feb 06, 2016 Maria Longley rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, fa, poetry, 2016
Marge Piercy provides a vivid account of the times she's lived through and her determination to be a writer. I learned a lot about cats and I was fascinated by the ongoing and repeated choices that were involved in her life to be a writer - it isn't a one-off choice.

The memoir describes a fully-lived life and touches on some of the huge political events over the decades that she was involved in. The activism of the time from the point of view of a woman was fascinating. Cats were allowed aborti
Amy Fremgen
Apr 22, 2015 Amy Fremgen rated it really liked it
I had vaguely heard of Marge Piercy but had never read anything she's written. I was attracted to this memoir/autobiography book because of its title. She is a very good writer and I loved the stories of her cats. However, I was surprised when I discovered she had attended my alma mater (Northwestern U.) a year after I graduated because her life there was so different from mine, it seemed like we had lived in parallel universes. I wanted an education (journalism major) so I could earn a living b ...more
Beth Browne
Jan 28, 2015 Beth Browne rated it it was amazing
Marge Piercy has been my favorite writer since I first read Gone To Soldiers twenty-five years ago. Since then I have been slowly working my way through her oeuvre (so many books, so little time!) and recently picked up this marvelous memoir. Although I am not a huge cat fan myself (I like them, but I'm allergic)I understood how Piercy developed such strong attachments to them. I enjoyed the poems and the poetic turns of phrase, but above all I loved the sense of being with her. This book is unf ...more
May 07, 2008 Jenniffer rated it really liked it
Shelves: memiors
A wonderful memoir. Another author that I now understand more clearly my connection. As with Dorothy Allison, she has a working class background and a strong feminist sense and history. The framing of the book with her relationship with the cats in her life spoke to me as well. It has made me think about the relationships I have had with animals in my life (dogs have played a role in my life as well.) It has given me another leaping off place for stories.
Cats. Poetry. Politics. Sex. Sexual Politics. Feminism. Activism. Tough women.

Would that I had read this book when I was 17. I could have used it. Marge Piercy is amazing.
Marge Piercy has been one of my favorite authors for decades. That is not evident if you look at my list of books on this website. However, I have read many of her novels and I regularly return to my copy of her collected poems. She turned out to be the perfect subject for my paper on an American Jewish woman.

There is plenty of information available about her, her writings and her commitment to Judaism. So my paper was easy to research. Not so easy to write, but I am a librarian not an author. S
Dec 06, 2012 Leila rated it really liked it
I'd never read a Piercy book before Sleeping With Cats. I chose it randomly because my library offered it as a digital Kindle rental, and I grew up with many cats, so the familiarity appealed to me. Anyone who values cats that much must be someone I understand, right?

This book was wonderful, and one of the most well-written and sophisticated memoirs I've read. Rather than writing a book with the sole purpose of glorifying herself (as too many writers do), or writing a book that's main appeal is
Apr 17, 2010 Kim rated it it was ok
Oops, the good review is when I thought I was commenting on another book. Not this one. The writing is okay, but it's too long and drawn out. There were good parts: her gardening, her writing about writing, the politics, and some of her friends.

I don't think I've ever quit reading a book that far into it before. I just can't bear to keep going. The years she continues to cover her open marriage are too much. I can't read another word of it. Also, I keep thinking she'll wise up and get out of it,
Jul 14, 2013 Crab rated it really liked it
i really liked this book; it gave me insight into what life was like in 60s/70s movements for social change from the perspective of a woman whose fiction I admire greatly. i found the writing structurally disjointed at times, but really loved the overall structure of having poems at the end of each chapter. i obviously revelled in how passionately intersted in and involved with her cats she is/has been. the most touching parts of her life story are tales of her cats, whom she talks about with a ...more
Feb 12, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
There are many things to enjoy about this memoir, not the least of which is Piercy's insight into and respect for cats. Reading it has brought a new layer of depth to my relationship with Birdie, who was never under-appreciated to begin with. (And now I want more cats - though Birdie would never allow it. )

Having just finished this, my immediate impression is with the richness of life when fully lived and fearlessly faced. Piercy is never sentimental and seldom self-aggrandizing as she relates t
Mar 10, 2015 HeavyReader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists, cat lovers, poets, fans of Marge Piercy
This book is so fantastic!

I love so much about Marge Piercy. I love the way she decided to remain childless because she knew she couldn't sacrifice her writing and her time to be a good mother. I love the way that she knows she can be a difficult person. I love the way she is a true, strong feminist who wants equality for women, equality for people. I love the way she understands poverty, having grown up in it. I love that she gardens, grows food, barters her produce for food she cannot grow. I
Jan 02, 2011 CJ rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
The first Marge Piercy novel I read was Braided Lives for a Women's Studies course I had in college. I fell in love and read all her previously written work. Then I had to wait for anything new - and I always read it. I usually enjoyed it too.

This book is a memoir of her life. I knew she had grown up in Detroit and went to the University of Michigan. I had no idea it was so difficult for her. She is one of those people who uses the struggle to become stronger and it was fascinating to read. She
Oct 27, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Once I plowed through the disjointed beginning, I couldn't put it down. Having myself failed at more marriages that I care to remember, it was interesting to read this life story bravely laid open before me. Whether she means to or not, she shows that connections with men are on a level with connections with cats - with no particular disrespect to the importance of either men or cats. Cats and men have many similarities. They can be very loveable and affectionate, although they largely take you ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Dee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-favored, bio
WOW! I have been reading this on and off since last summer. It is the kind of book I like to read for more than just little bits, so I finished it during my winter break from my job. It was good all along, lots on her earlier years in the movement, relationships found and lost, and cats through out. But the last few chapters, whoa, they almost take my breath away. Starting with the one where she gets very personal with a fearful cat ( I don't want to be a spoiler) and then the eye problems. I ha ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Ronnie rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Prior to this, I didn't know anything about Marge Piercy, nor had read any of her books. After reading her memoir, I am so impressed with her accomplishments, writing, energy, perseverance and her love of cats. As a lover of cats myself, I truly appreciated how she describes the different cat personalities and the roles they have played throughout her life. The writing is lyrical, like reading one of her poems, some of which are, in fact, interspersed within the book.
May 04, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing
Took me a while to finish this superb biography... But what a biography! Probably the most honest and frank life story... If you have lived as a feminist this women should be one of your idols... She has the gumption to embrace all her imperfections and mistakes and reveal them in their unabashed glory to the reader... Fearless and opinionated... Marge Piercey takes my breathe away.., A passionate cat lover we are treated to those many furry companions that shared her space throughout her wonder ...more
Kathy Skaggs
Mar 14, 2010 Kathy Skaggs rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I really enjoyed Marge Piercy's memoir, especially what she wrote about her early years. I loved the way she put poems in at the end of each chapter. She used the cats in her life as a way to organize the book, and I couldn't help thinking, sometimes, as I made my way through whole chapters describing her cats and their behavior, likes, and dislikes that the only thing more boring than listening to someone else's dreams is listening to someone else talk about their cats. I love cats, but at time ...more
Mar 12, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
Marge Piercy is so interesting. Her life growing up in poverty with indifferent parents, living in a rough area of Detroit was so richly written. I felt like I could climb into her skin in her early years. As she gets older, she spends too much space on the personality and care of her cats... While well written - it didn't really capture my imagination.

I didn't realize she was so out there in her non-monogamous marriage and feminist work. You can really sense the progression from tough kid to a
Priscilla Nemeth
Aug 12, 2014 Priscilla Nemeth rated it liked it
Here's a woman who was deep sea diving during the times when I only had my toe in the water. What chutzpah! Love the interspersing of poems pertinent to the time/life stage she was writing about.
Apr 27, 2014 Clara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, especially its honesty and vibrant writing. But as a frivolous aside I must ask how she taught her cats not to kill birds.
Feb 14, 2012 Juanita rated it really liked it
I wasn't enthusiastic about reading Sleeping With Cats, my book club book for this month, but Piercy is a great writer and I'm truly enjoying getting a peek at her life.
I don't know enough about technique to know how she does it, but Piercy manages to do it, but the pace of her sentences follows her chronological age. At the beginning, it feels fast paced and energetic, youthful, and by the end of the book, the pace seems more measured and...perhaps graceful is the word I want. It has been a joy
Carol Chapman
Jul 15, 2013 Carol Chapman rated it liked it
A friend of my mom's, who has never met me, thought I would love this book based on something my mom must have told her about me, but I don't know what! The book is a very well-written memoir by Marge Piercy. I never previously heard of her, but she's apparently a rather well-known U.S. author and poet. Despite not having heard of her, I enjoyed reading her memoir. She's led an interesting life and did a great job writing about it. Every chapter ended with one of her poems, some of which I liked ...more
Linda Hollingsworth
Jun 15, 2012 Linda Hollingsworth rated it liked it
In my opinion some of the best of Marge Piercy's poetry has been no-holds-barred honest, passionate and sometimes humorous. This memoir by the poet and novelist reflects on the life feeding her creativity involving three husbands and six cats she has loved. It has also included an active part in the anti-war movement of the 60's and later her involvement in the feminist movement. Her life has been tumultuous, and as with her poetry and novels about women in transition this memoir is an honest an ...more
May 16, 2016 Cathy rated it it was ok
I might have enjoyed this more if I had been familiar with Piercy's novels/poetry before picking up this memoir. Reading about her childhood was painful and a lot of her life I found vaguely disturbing. She grew up in an earlier time and totally different family environment from my own and I had trouble relating to her story. I did very much enjoy the stories of her cats and how they influenced her life, but struggled with the rest and ended up putting the book down about halfway into it.
Aug 28, 2014 Teresa rated it liked it
Interesting memoir. I enjoyed reading it.
Fascinating book of the author's own life and also a good picture of the times she lived through...60s on.
Nov 03, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it

Anyone who has read and enjoyed Marge Piercy’s novels will surely enjoy her Memoir, “Sleeping with Cats.” She brings the same level of forthrightness, candor and exquisite writing. In fact, it is amazing how open she is in detailing her personal life. How differently she performed her life as a researcher and writer from the way she handled other aspects of her life! I also was introduced to her poetry which was incorporated at the end of each chapter.
Susan Austin
Sep 26, 2015 Susan Austin rated it liked it
I found this book a bit slow and long-winded, maybe because there was a bit too much detail for my liking about cats and lovers, cats and lovers ... But her childhood, her character, her politics, her experience with open relationships and her early and lifelong dedication to being a writer were all interesting enough to make it a mostly enjoyable read. Good to know more about the woman who wrote one of my favourite books, Woman on the Edge of Time.
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Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.

Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression. She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan. Winning a
More about Marge Piercy...

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“Writing is a futile attempt to preserve what disappears moment by moment.” 11 likes
“From the time I arrived on the Cape, one of the things I chose explicitly was to put my writing first. Everything else in my life waxed and waned, but writing, I discovered during my restructuring, was my real core. Not any relationship. Not any love. Not any person. I had become more selfish and less accessible. I ceased to be the universal mommy of the tribe. I wanted to see people when I was done with my writing for the day, and not in the middle of my work time.” 4 likes
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