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The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It: Over the Edge and Back with My Dad, My Cat, and Me
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The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It: Over the Edge and Back with My Dad, My Cat, and Me

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  519 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Geneen Roth’s legions of fans have always responded to her humor and honesty, her warmth and savvy. Those qualities, so present in The Craggy Hole in My Heart and The Cat Who Fixed It, take us deep into the story of a remarkable twenty-pound cat, Mister Blanche, and Geneen’s beloved father, Bernard, and the ways in which each taught her to love without reservation and to a ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Harmony (first published 2004)
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Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geneen's soulful story of the loss of her father and beloved kitty touched the hole in my heart - all while helping me realize that although the hole will never go away, I have grown stronger because of it. Get the Kleenex out. Thank you to my dear friend Jan for realizing the value of this book for me.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed by this book. The title never fulfilled itself to me as the author was just as self-involved at the end of the book as she was at the beginning. Her husband is clearly a saint.
Dec 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roth's book has three-star and four-star moments. Where is the review to justify my rating of the book? I thought that it was in me. But so far, I've located only a hole without a review.
I'm not exactly sure what I was looking for, but this book did not do much for me.

I couldn't relate to her feelings about her father, but I could relate to her feelings about her cat. I've had to say goodbye to a number of pets over the years, and it is a very sad and difficult thing to do, but honestly "death memoirs" are kind of boring. Or maybe they're just depressing.

I don't feel comfortable really trashing this book as I like a lot of what Roth has to say, but it just didn't resonate with
Tess Votto Haranda
One of my students recommended this book to me and loaned me her copy. I'm so glad I read it; there were many messages to take to heart. I read a lot of reviews after I read this book. I can relate to those who disliked it because of the author's choices. I thought she was a nutter and making bad choices, but those things are not the heart of the message. I knew her message would be a pearl worth searching for. Sometimes, you suspend certain needs to attain a goal. I didn't need to agree with he ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pets have special places in our hearts, no doubt about it. When Blanche the kitten nudged his furry way into Geneen Roth's heart, she believed that she didn't have space for him. Yet she did, and the two became inextricably attached. Blanche comforted Geneen through several life events, including the loss of her beloved, flawed father.

While I enjoyed the stories about Blanche, as well as those about Geneen and her family members, the self-help psychology that comprised much of the book captivat
Jason Cordeiro
Jan 14, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
great idea, but can't get past the owner/author being an idiot - scooting and anorexia as signs of kidney stones and imminent renal explosion!?!? the comment that made be toss the book across the room and move on to a sure thing (Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver)was her lamenting over fearing for her cat's safety while he's outside braving the weather, cars, etc - if you love your cat, keep them indoors you MORON
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
What a silly woman. If she'd ever take her focus off herself and place it out in the world...where it belongs!!...she wouldn't have been so distressed and unhappy.
This book went off into lofty places I couldn't follow a few times. Had it been less transcendental I would have enjoyed it more. I get where the author was going with it, but she never quite made me care.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Kind of Person Who Loves Chirpy Hallmark Self-Help Books
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Ultimate Reading List - Science
This is the kind of book that tempts me into being hugely snarky and not nice so beware. I have a friend who is a huge cat lover (animal lover in general) and if anything would tempt her into reading a non-fiction book, it's this kind of book. Only one thing she says bothers her about this kind of book--and that's when the book really turns out to be all about Me! Me! Me! and not really all that much about the cat. (Boy am I glad I checked this out before say, getting it for her for Christmas.) ...more
I am always game for a book about someone and her/his cat. I also felt I got something from the author's explorations of love, self-awareness, and grief, but overall it was too new-agey for me.

Ironically, only new-agey people would probably understand my own feelings for animals, but nonetheless, I was appalled that the author's reaction to her aged cat's crying every night was to call a homeopathic healer and an acupuncturist rather than a real vet. And I had to roll my eyes when a supposedly
May 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Geneen Roth fans
I love Geneen Roth's books. They have been a real anchor for me as I learn to be a more mindful eater and whole person. I didn't expect this one to be as deep as some of her other works, so the fact that I didn't expect much made me enjoy this so very much. Geneen Roth speaks on her fear of death (one I can really relate to) and how that kept her from opening her heart to anyone and anything, including herself. Her lovely fat male cat name Blanche changed that all for her and she's a much better ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I wasn't sure about this book, but needed something to read between very heavy books--The Book Thief and The Ministry of Special Cases. I love Geneen Roth's writing, and Annie LaMott recommended this book highly. Geneen says that nnie helped her revise. Actually it feels very much like Annie's voice, but the concerns are Geneen's and I was so happy to read, to think about the spiritual, zen, family, psychological things she is dealing with, and to laugh as I read. The best of all worlds. I recom ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've owned this book for several years but forgot all about it. I'm a firm believer that books find you at the right moment. I've tried to read several books, stopped because I didn't like them only to pick them up years later to become one of my favorites. My sweet little Smiley cat died suddenly yesterday. Crying uncontrollably, I looked up and spotted this book. Not really wanting to read a book about cats, I still picked it up and finished it with in 24 hours. I really related to the author' ...more
Ashley Bigham
Jul 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I managed to disagree with the author on everything from her psychoanalysis (of herself, her "treatments," and her nutjob new-agey doctors) to her pet care (who has panic attacks over not being able to find their cat and STILL allows them to go outside? Who takes a suffering cat to an acupuncturist and ACTUALLY LISTENS to pet psychics instead of taking him to a real vet?!). It's obvious she's a deeply disturbed and delusional person and it horrifies me that she has a career in teaching f ...more
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this at your own peril! It is simultaneously heart wrenching, heartwarming, and raw. Maybe it is because I have a twenty-pound cat who thinks he is a small child and who I love dearly, and I know it is because my mother passed away in eerily similar circumstances just two years ago. Regardless of my reasons, this book had me in tears. And, even when I tried to rush through the pages because it was too painful to read slowly, the guidance she received from Blanche, her husband, her therapist ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading how someone who didn't want a cat at all was totally taken over by one. Most of my friends are cat people and that is a familiar story to us.
I can relate to her parental issues, although I never had to go through being disappointed in my father since he only developed any kind of a relationship with my youngest sister. In the end, he didn't really care much about her either.
The main point is that Ms. Roth learned that she could love and still survive losing loved ones - a
Jan 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's somewhat autobiographical-a story of a woman's emotional ups/downs as an adult and her dysfunctional relationship with her shows how she learns to change certain things in her life and of course how she falls in love with this pet cat of hers...Blanche. THe cat really helps her through some hard times, and teaches her to love with her whole heart. I love the story, because I can relate to loving an animal like family. She's pretty funny, and for the most part it's just an easy ...more
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book overall was warm and fuzzy. However, I had a major problem with the actual reading of it. The word choices and grammar that the author chose were not fluid in my mind's eye. I constantly had to reread to understand who was saying what. There's a good message about healing our past and getting through this life authentically. I just remembered that I cried (sobbed) a few times during the reading of the book. Animal lovers (and those of you who don't especially like animals) may enjoy th ...more
Summary: With humor and honesty, warmth and savvy, Geneen Roth takes us deep into the story of a remarkable twenty-pound cat, Mister Blanche, and Geneen's beloved father, Bernard, and the ways in which each of them taught her to love without reservation. In these remarkable, inspiring, and joyous pages, we discover how to break free of the fears that inhibit our ability to embrace life freely and fully.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not have picked a better book to read after the death of my father. The author dealing with death and handling the fear of loosing loved ones, human and feline, has helped me immensely in dealing with my grief. A wonderful book, with enough humor to balance the sad. I would recommend to anyone who needs a little help dealing with loosing someone, 2 legged or 4. and to anyone who loves cats and true life stories.
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I was convinced that my heart was either on permanent sabbatical or missing some essential ingredients - the ones that allowed normal people to take risks, to discern the bad guys from the good, to say come closer, hold me, go away."

It's more than a love story about a cat - it's about love and the capacity to give and receive love. And the lessons in love you can learn from animals, if you open your heart.

May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish, anf
I stopped about half-way through this one. It was entertaining, to a point, sometimes funny, and refreshingly honest and blunt about depression, neuroses, and other mental illnesses. However, I couldn't bring myself to continue to read it. In the world of too many options to read, it fell under the I have something I'd rather read category.
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love, love love Geneen Roth. She writes with such clarity and self-deprecating humor, while addressing very real issues about food, love, family. This book is a little bit of a departure from her usual writing about food issues, compulsive eating, etc ... Blanche the cat is as important a character (if not more so) as her husband in healing her heart...
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read this book in a couple of days between baking cookies and school...made me cry and that is not an easy feat for me...roth is the author of many groundbreaking books dealing with eating disorders...this book explores life, loving, and death, and how a 20 lb. cat brought love into her life and taught her about what was important. excellent book!
Damn it, I knew I'd love Geneen Roth. I just knew it. The title of this book is awful, and doesn't convey the depth of feeling and wisdom that this memoir holds! Love makes us vulnerable and nutty; death, even more so. And resisting it all causes pain and misery. This book is like a big, genuine hug - the kind you might be embarrassed to receive, but that you secretly need more than anything.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
Geneen Roth intersperses her personal story and baggage in with the role her cat Mister Blance plays in her life. I really enjoy the raw honesty; she describes complicated relationships with parents in a manner that strikes a chord. I find her confessionalism endearing rather than off-putting.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this is one sitting. Very easy read. I HATE Cats and was able to get past the fact that it was a cat who was the love of her life, not a dog. I also learned about love and loss. And... I spoil my dogs, but nothing to this level. I am ok... Good read.
Jeanne Grunert
A quick read. Geneen Roth is one of my favorite writers and I liked this book. She was especially honest about her relationship with her father. I wish there was a bit more exploration of that, but otherwise a good read.
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A quick read, the title and the good reviews on goodreads made me give a try but I wasn't all that impressed. The author seemed to be looking for some meaning or an ah ha moment but never really got there.
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Geneen Roth's pioneering books were among the first to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with deeply personal and spiritual issues that go far beyond food, weight and body image. She believes that we eat the way we live, and that our relationship to food, money, love is an exact reflection of our deepest held beliefs about ourselves and the amount of joy, abundance, pain, scarcity, we b ...more
More about Geneen Roth...
“We make up stories about why things are the way they are. If our mothers are depressed, if our fathers are drunks, we are still dependent on them for love and for survival. When the love is not attuned, when it is abusive, when it is scarce or intermittent, we often blame ourselves. We can’t blame our parents because we need them too much; blaming them means rejecting them and rejecting them means dying. So we decide we are too needy, too intense, too fat. We were born defective. These things aren’t true, but we believe they are. They get wired into our brains and hearts at the same time our nervous systems develop, and unless we question them head-on, we believe them for the rest of our lives.” 0 likes
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