I'm a little particular (read: anal retentive) when it comes to organizing
my books on a shelf. After I'd finished reading an advance copy of Jackson Galaxy's Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean (which was released yesterday), I stood frozen before the book shelf. Where would I file this book? When I initially sat down to read, I fully expected the words to be solely directed toward cat lovers. I am one of those people so naturally I was excited; however, after burning through the pages of this wildly addicting read, I quickly found it impossible to label the book. It wasn't just a cat book; it was also a recovery book, a spiritual book, and a message simply about the human journey. Just like Jackson himself, this book defies a label.
When I spoke with Cat Daddy a few weeks ago, I asked if he intended the book to cross genres. He said he really didn't know what to expect. He only knew when Benny's (the world's most incorrigible cat) life was fading, Jackson promised he would tell his story. He meant he would tell Benny's story, but found it was impossible to convey it without, in the process, exposing his own painful experiences. By the way, when I asked Jackson if it felt uncomfortable "exposing himself" to such a degree, it felt just plain weird. We both had a laugh.
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Benny mirrored Jackson in so many ways and as the Cat Daddy worked with him on his behavior issues, he also found himself working through his own. They were soul mates and helped each other heal from very broken lives. If you've ever experienced the healing power of an animal companion, you will relate to this book.
It's not necessarily a sweet book, although there are some sweet parts. The language he uses paints a harsh picture of his reality. From passing out from intoxication nearly every night, sleeping on a warehouse floor, or being thrown into the job of euthanizing cats and dogs, Jackson doesn't mince words. His discomfort, anger, and finally surrender were clear on every page. When I asked him which addiction was hardest to kick, he confessed it was definitely food...and he still struggles with it. "It's such a primal addiction. It's very obvious when you have a weight problem and you are made fun of. People can glorify Kurt Cobain's drug problems, but can't have the same compassion for Marlon Brando."
Being the music lover that I am, I couldn't end a conversation with Jackson without talking a little bit about tunes. This time around I asked that if this book were to have a soundtrack, what three songs would be included on it? He went on to name the songs, which certainly create the mood for the pages of the book.
Cat Daddy began by telling me that during much of the time, he was in a very "feedback-drenched place," so he would have to include a Sonic Youth song. "Yes, Dirty Boots," he concluded. Exactly.
He paused and said, "I'm not playing to you or anything..." He knows I live in Minneapolis and we have a shared love of the 80's Minneapolis music scene. He continued, "But I have to have The Replacements." He settled on "Unsatisfied." Perfect...one of my favorites and absolutely fits.
He wrapped it up with the Minneapolis standard, Prince. He said when he felt abandoned, he listened to the Lovesexy album from beginning to end because it really plays like a single track. Agreed, Cat Daddy...a fine choice. Here is one of the tracks from the album.
Cat Daddy was very well worth the read. It was unexpected, emotionally moving (yes, I cried), informational, and I was unable to put it down. And guess what?? Catladyland has autographed copies of Cat Daddy to give away to TWO readers!! And no worries...if you don't win or simply want to make sure you get your hands on a copy, you can place your order here.
- Please comment indicating you'd like to qualify and you must leave your contact e-mail address.
- Giveaway open to Catladyland readers in the US and Canada
- Winners will be randomly chosen via Randomizer.org.
- Gievaway is open until Monday, 5/14 at 11:59 Central.
- Winners will be contacted via e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
And don't miss Cat Daddy on his book tour. Will he be coming to a city near you??
I was given a copy of Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, but the opinions in this review are my own.