Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Review: Love Saves the Day

Love Saves the Day - Gwen Cooper (photo from Goodreads)

I was surprised by how much I loved this book.  Generally, I am not into fiction written from the perspective of the animal, but Love Saves the Day was definitely an exception.  An incredibly sweet novel featuring several different narrators, this is a perfect (purrfect?  No?  Too far?) book for cat lovers.

Prudence, the brown tabby cat at the center of the novel, has "adopted" a woman named Sarah; the two live a happy life together until, one day, Sarah doesn't return home.  Though it's not a major event shown in the story, Sarah has died.  Prudence, of course, does not understand where her beloved human has gone, and she continues to expect Sarah to come home throughout the novel.  I found this absolutely heartbreaking.  

Coming to Sarah's house to gather her belongings, however, is Laura, who is Sarah's nearly-estranged daughter.  Prudence's comfortable life is turned upside down when she is brought to live with this stranger and her husband.  Laura and her husband are not cat lovers - in fact, they barely know how to interact with poor Prudence.  The plot follows the struggle of Prudence to "train" her new humans while still longing for Sarah, as well as Laura's attempts to push away the memories of her deceased mother.  

Laura and her mother once had a very strong relationship that ended with lots of arguments and fighting.  Prudence the cat only reminds Laura of the bond her and her mother once had.  The book has three narrators, if I recall correctly:  Prudence, Laura, and Sarah (her memories).  Each was equally heartstring-tugging and poignant.  Books that are written from the POV of an animal can be gimmicky and cheesy.  This (despite the sappy title and cover) did not happen in this book, much to my relief.  Instead, the cat's chapters were clever and fun, and it made me wish I could hear the things that go on inside my pet's head.

This book is sad, but also very sweet and affecting.  It is not only a "cat book" - it is a powerful novel about reconciling with one's past, loss of loved ones, and regret and its effect on a person's life.  Even if you're not a cat lover, I would still give this one a shot.  Trust me when I say that the cover/title does NOT do this book justice.  (Buy it here for only about $12!)


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