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Terrific review of Anne Kaier’s Home with Henry

April 30, 2015

PS Books is pleased to share this wonderful new review of Anne Kaier’s engaging memoir Home with Henry. If you’d like to meet Anne in person and pick up a signed copy, or copies, of the book (it makes a thoughtful and much-appreciated gift!), make plans to attend her reading with Liz Abrams-Morley at Head House Books on May 4th!

Reviewed by Jeanne

The guy in the blue truck seemed surprised that a middle aged woman in a gray coat would hold up traffic, but I enjoyed that momentary feeling of power.

When Anne Kaier sees the orange lump of fur in the road, she carefully drives over it, not wanting to be the one to further desecrate the body. When she looks in her rear view mirror and sees the tail move, she turns around and goes back.  She intends to just move the body out of the road, but when she feels the warmth behind his ears she takes him to her vet instead.

As it turns out, the cat isn’t badly injured.  He is, however, nearly feral, but Anne has committed herself to him. She dubs him Henry, and takes him home where he hides in her spare bedroom. Her resident cat, Lucille, doesn’t seem to mind the newcomer but is happy to still have Anne to herself.  Anne is determined to try to break through to her new addition.  She spends time in the room reading aloud, coaxes him with treats, and finally starts dismantling his little world in an effort to force him out.

This is a slim little book, but one that’s difficult to characterize.  It’s definitely not a “how to” book, nor is it a rapturous celebration of all things feline.  It’s mostly a gentle, thoughtful book about an older, still single woman succeeding on her own terms.  It’s not maudlin, it’s not strident, and it’s not a cry in the wilderness.  It’s about relationships, trust, and being comfortable in your own skin, though the author makes all these points without preaching or pontificating or navel-gazing.  I was not surprised when I checked the author’s bio to find she is an award-winning essayist and a poet.  She writes cleanly and well.  At only 102 pages, she covers a lot of territory but in a painless way.  The book is written as a journal, and I was interested to see what each day would bring.

I enjoyed my visit with Anne and with Henry. I would like a chance to visit with them again.

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