Cbackson's Reviews > The Girl with the Cat Tattoo

The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir
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Jun 10, 12

Read in June, 2012

I should admit, as a prefatory matter, that I hate cats. I want my pets to love me. I want mindless servility. I do not want to own an animal that has a high opinion of herself.

Last night, I went to my brother's house to pick him up for dinner. For the dogs, my arrival was like unto the second coming of Christ in glory. There was much leaping and rolling on backs. There was delirious barking. A stuffed platypus was energetically shaken by the neck until dead.

Then the cat turned up. The cat stood on the table. I petted its head. It returned the favor by leaping, claws extended, onto my chest and leaving four red scratches on my decolletage. Gee, THANKS, cat.

That said, I was eager to like this book because it got stellar reviews on Dear Author, and the cover was utterly charming. The book itself was perfectly unobjectionable, and parts of it were quite good. The heroine is a widowed children's librarian with a fondness for wearing her story-hour costumes home from work. The hero is a guy who works at a shelter, although it becomes apparent quite quickly that there's something else going on (and what that something is what apparently to be before we even met him, TBH). The romance, to be frank, is basically sketched in, as is the hero. The plot is very, very predictable.

But the book does one thing that I REALLY liked. The heroine, in the wake of her husband's murder, has retreated into, essentially, the life of Zooey Deschanel: she wears twee costumes and bakes cupcakes and knits costumes for her cat. She probably has a cruiser bike and blunt-cut bangs, although this isn't mentioned. In the course of the story, she realizes that she has hidden herself in this safe, slightly infantilized world, because she's afraid of really living. And though she'll always be quirky, she needs to be a grown-up.

I think that a lot of our attraction, in this cultural moment, to rick-rack and aprons and the entire Z. Deschanel oeuvre is result of the fear that many young women feel of being grown-ups in a big, bad world that is currently quite remarkably pitiless. The author's willingness to go there is the most interesting thing about this book and it's the reason why I didn't care that the hero was nonexistent as a character. This isn't really a romance, it's a coming-of-age story. Sometimes we need to grow up twice. Sometimes our cats, claws and all, will help us get there.
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