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The Astonishing Thing

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  744 ratings  ·  146 reviews
In her inventive, sometimes bittersweet, ultimately uplifting debut, Sandi Ward draws readers into one extraordinary cat's quest to make sense of her world, illuminating the limits and mysterious depths of love . . .

Pet owners know that a cat's loyalty is not easily earned. Boo, a resourceful young feline with a keen eye and inquiring mind, has nonetheless grown intensely
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published October 31st 2017)
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Sandi Ward
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Sandi Ward Hi! The on-sale date is October 31, 2017 and it will be available both as a paperback and an e-book. You can pre-order an e-book now from booksellers …moreHi! The on-sale date is October 31, 2017 and it will be available both as a paperback and an e-book. You can pre-order an e-book now from booksellers like Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook) and Apple (iBooks). Thanks! (less)

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Nat K
Have you ever wondered what your family pet is thinking?

Don’t be deceived by the gorgeous cover of this book, or that the narrator of this story is a cat. Boo is an inquisitive and sensitive creature who loves her family, especially “Mother” with whom she shares a special bond. When “Mother” leaves soon after the arrival of baby Finn, we uncover the reason through Boo’s eyes.

Yes, this book is delightful and charming, and is interspersed with many moments of humour and hope. But underlying this,
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

----Ernest Hemingway

Sandi Ward, an American author, has penned a heart warming debut contemporary fiction called The Astonishing Thing that is centered around a regular family of four and with one pet cat and a pet dog, and this pet cat narrates the story of this family from her perspective and how suddenly the marriage of the husband and wife shakes the ground of each
Jenni Walsh
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 17scribes
This book had me all sorts of curious, as I've never read a book from a POV of a cat (or non human) before, and I really enjoyed my time with Boo (or Fat Fat, or her many other names). The book surprised me in a lot of ways, being both straightforward, yet complex -- serious, yet funny -- and unique, yet familiar. It's a quick read with a charming perspective that I definitely recommend! ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Sargent
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE THIS BOOK. Boo's voice, as she tells about the brokenness of her family and her desperation to help them pick up the shattered pieces, is endearing, irresistible, sometimes painful, and unforgettable. She has curled up and nestled herself into a permanent place in my heart. Her perspective is so innocent and devoted, yet she lacks understanding, so you are enticed to join Boo's search for answers and to love and protect Boo and her family the way she knows they deserve. As her family clin ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to ♥ Sandi ❣ by: the author
3.75 stars Thanks to author Sandi Ward and Kensington books for a chance to read this ARC.

An out of the ordinary story told by a very unconventional narrator - the family cat, Boo.

Shortly after the birth of their third child Tommy and Carrie begin to do a lot of fighting. Their teenage children, Mary and Jimmy, are left to tend to Finn, the baby. As the family falls apart the cat tries to make sense of what is happening. Boo's love for Carrie makes it hard to see from anyone else's point of vi
Mary Ann Marlowe
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 17-scribes
The Astonishing Thing takes a unique perspective on a family's drama. Narrated by Boo, the family cat, the story is filtered through a level of innocence and questioning that I found really touching. At first, this feels like a mystery as clues become available to make sense of the world around us, much like the cat, trying to understand why everything has suddenly changed and what it means to each of the people she loves. But over time, the cat becomes wiser and more perceptive, and this seems ...more
Jenny Williams
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly sweet and charming novel--but it doesn't shy away from difficult subject matter, either. In classic feline form, Boo's voice had me smiling at her wry observations and self-awareness. I love that the dog is referred to as Not a Cat. I love that Boo points out that the eldest human son is "incapable of fixing his own meals"--followed by: "As am I. So I am sympathetic." And I love that the novel doesn't stoop to the quick-and-easy resolution, that it makes space for complexit ...more
Adriana Arrington
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Both charming and thought-provoking, The Astonishing Thing delves into complex family relationships and mental illness. Narrated by the opinionated family cat, Boo, the novel follows one family's path from broken to healing.

When "Mother" first leaves, Boo is confused and hurt. As time progresses, she begins to fit the puzzles pieces together of exactly why Mother left, and her feelings of abandonment evolve to those of compassion and understanding.

The novel touches on some very heavy topics, suc
Kathleen Flynn
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was dubious about the idea of a family in distress narrated by the home's cat, but Sandi Ward makes it work. The cat, Boo, has a partial and self-interested view of what's going on, much as a child would, yet is also a keen-eyed and loving member of the family, struggling to make sense of puzzling events, both those that unfold in the course of the story and those recalled from a time before the action began, gradually understood in a new way. In tone it's sweet, yet not cloying; it does not p ...more
Lisa Duffy
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Astonishing Thing is a stunning debut told from the endearing voice of the feline narrator-Boo. Masterful in its telling, and weaving a complex story about mental illness, the complexities of love, and finding hope when all seems lost, this story will break your heart, and put in back together page by page.
I wanted to love this.
I had hoped to love this.

So far i read two books from the perspective of dogs and LOVED them.
Its so nice if an author manages to actually put the reader inside the animals head and make us see the perspective of our furry little companions/babies.

So i was very excited to see this book from the perspective of a cat.
Who does not want to know what cats think? (the answer is that EVERYBODY wants to know that, by the way!)

Sadly this book was just not that great.

I think the
Devin Murphy
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was given an ARC of The Astonishing Thing, which is narrated by a cat named Boo. I loved THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, narrated by a dog, so gave this book a shot. I found Boo to be a funny, charming, and though distant as a cat can be, full-on-empathetic member of a family that is in distress. The book touches on some of the darker turns in life, such as mental illness which is difficult to understand for Boo, and divorce which creates divides that like a child, a cat has a hard time figurin ...more
Renee Rutledge
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’m always appreciative of writing that takes chances and dares to be different. Kudos to Sandi Ward for being that kind of writer with her debut, The Astonishing Thing. This novel’s unique narrator, the family cat, shows us that sometimes it takes an unexpected witness to see our lives in a whole new perspective. Anyone who’s ever owned or known a cat would not be surprised that Boo is opinionated and discerning to a fault. As she begins to understand her mother’s illness and family’s struggles ...more
Kate Brandes
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sandi Ward’s novel, The Astonishing Thing, is a sometimes funny, often poignant story told through the perspective of the family cat. This unique narrator is utterly convincing and full of charm.

Boo observes her humans with a keen and objective eye, as her family is broken and then put back together in new ways. You’ll come to know all of the characters deeply and want the best for them.

This tender, charming novel is a true pleasure and worthy of your time and attention. If you can read just one
Stephanie Kline
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay, on one hand, of course this was cute. It's a story about a family and its dysfunction, told by the family cat, Boo. Going into a book with this description, you expect it to be cute and sweet. A story told through the perspective of a cat? I'm in! And there were absolutely times when this story lived up to that cuteness potential. But other times, unfortunately, it felt too heavy and dreary to be told in such a "cutesy" format. For the most part, despite loving the cat element, the story i ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
After being contacted by this author and reading the synopsis, I knew this was a must read for me. Who wouldn’t love a story written in a family pet’s perspective, especially a cat? I read A Dog’s Purpose and it hit me so hard, and I expected to shed some tears while reading this one as well. I wasn’t disappointed that’s for sure.

I found Boo an amazing narrator! I laughed, cried, and did a little of whatever you call the in-between. In my mind I always knew cat’s as curious and intelligent parts
Jessica Strawser
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sandi Ward so immersed me in this story's charming perspective -- which somehow manages to portray events and characters in a way that is simultaneously naive and astute -- that I have to wonder if she lived a previous life as a cat. The Astonishing Thing offers a sweet, original look at family dynamics, mental illness, forgiveness and love. (Many thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to read and review early.) ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo-read, 2017-read
My goodness what a great book. I am already looking forward to the next book from this wonderful author.

I absolutely love books written from the POV of an animal and this one certainly did not disappoint. Here we have the cat named Boo who observes everything that happens in the family. As the story opens there is a husband and wife, two teenagers and a newborn baby, plus a small dog. The wife is unhappy and seemingly is falling into a very low point.

With Boo writing this book we get a different
Kathleen Gray
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wait! Come back! Yes, it's narrated by a cat, which has the potential to go oh so wrong but here's the thing, this is a wonderful novel of a family in crisis. Sometimes the unexpected quiet one is the individual who knows the most and that's true here, where Boo the cat knows and worries about all sorts of things her human family might not see. I was surprised at how much I liked this book, which is carefully written and never descends into the twee. What went wrong for Carrie and where has she ...more
Sue Em
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for animal stories and The Astonishing Thing seemed to offer one with an unusual perspective where the cat, Boo, not only narrates the book, but tried to solve the mystery of what happened to the mother and why. While I enjoyed the book, I just didn't love it the way I was hoping to.

Thanks to netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-2020
4.5739612/5 stars

”When the afternoon sun comes through the front window and makes a bright square on the floor, I lie down, spread out my fat stomach, and purr.
Yes, life is short.
My life will be the shortest of all, but such is life for a cat.”

I’ve literally always wondered what my cat is thinking. I mean, who hasn’t? I’ve always wanted to spend the day in the mind of my cat or wished that she was able to speak English so I could understand her better😂 The Astonishing Thing did such a great job
Feb 15, 2021 rated it liked it
I chose this book because it was from the point of view of the family cat Boo. I wanted to love this book but unfortunately I did not. The simplest things were not understood by Boo so it took a while for the reader to figure out what exactly was going on in the story. Carrie, the mother, in the story was bipolar and a good amount of the story described her in detail. It was very sad to read about how her life was when she was not taking her medication. I think the book would’ve been better if t ...more
Marla Bradeen
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
THE ASTONISHING THING is an interesting look at family life. Told from the unique perspective of the family cat, the story is at times touching and amusing. I found the characters to be sympathetic, and I enjoyed watching them grow as the story progressed. Cat lovers especially will likely enjoy this book.

Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway.
Galina Krasskova
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Renaud
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a cat lover, I knew I had to read this book. It was a touching story of a family dealing with the trials and tribulations of a loved one with a mental illness all told through the eyes of a cat. Have you ever wondered what a cat is truly thinking? A different take on story telling. I look forward to reading the author’s other 2 books
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-read

Think A Dog’s Purpose (W. Bruce Cameron) only with a cat … kind of.

Boo, a resourceful young feline, is intensely devoted to her human companion, Carrie. However, Carrie—or Mother, as Boo calls her—suddenly leaves her family. Boo worries about who will fill her food dish and provide a warm lap to nestle into. More pressing still, trying to uncover the truth about why Carrie left.

I’m a cat person, so the cover of this book immediately grabbed my attention wh
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although this book was told from the perspective of a cat, it was not at all lightweight or overly cutesy. It was a thoughtful look at the end of a marriage and the effects on the entire family. We learn the events and motivations behind them as the cat does, so the story and characters are revealed gradually.
The only thing that didn’t work for me was the way the two teenaged children spoke and acted... they sounded almost middle aged to me at times and were far too forgiving of their parents’ s
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lovely story, told from the cat Boo's point of view, about adjustment, love, change and acceptance. ...more
Interesting concept (book is from cats pov) and cute cat on the cover. But after about 30% I found myself just not very interested in the story. DNF
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Sandi Ward is a native New Englander who now lives on the Jersey Shore with her husband, kids, dog and a big black cat named Winnie. She received her MA in Creative Writing from NYU, and is a copywriter at an advertising agency. Her novels include THE ASTONISHING THING, SOMETHING WORTH SAVING, and WHAT HOLDS US TOGETHER (Kensington Books).

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