Book Review: Love Saves the Day

love saves the dayLove Saves the Day
by Gwen Cooper
Fiction
314 pages
Published 2013

This book was heartbreaking and lovely. I definitely cried at several points in the book; Prudence’s confusion at her owner never coming home and having to live with her owner’s daughter is poignant and tearjerking. I am owned by a rather strong-willed cat, myself, and  many of Prudence’s behaviors reminded me of my own Boudicca. (Sleeping beside me and reaching out one paw so we’re touching in our sleep is something I thought was peculiar to her until reading this book!)

The strained relationship between mother and daughter is also something I can identify with.

I had planned to spend next year reading books told from the viewpoints of animals – I’m not sure why this one snuck in this year, but I’m glad it did, because I absolutely adore this book. Some people might think it unrealistic that Prudence understands human speech, but at times I’m pretty sure Boudicca understands every word I’m saying, so I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility!

Boudicca

Boudicca, asleep on my pillow

I love how Prudence and Laura learn to live together, and eventually to mourn their mother and begin to heal. The book is a lovely example of what a pet can bring to a home. I know my cat has kept me sane through some very trying times; when my husband was in the Marines, he was away for many months at a time. The separations after we got Boudicca were far easier than the ones before. I felt a lot more sane carrying on conversations with a cat than with empty air!

Love Saves the Day, despite the sappy name, is a beautiful book. Just keep a pile of tissues handy!

(This book is my pick for PopSugar’s prompt “favorite prompt from the last three years of challenges” – my favorite prompt is “book with a cat on the cover!”)

From the cover of Love Saves the Day:

Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.”

So notes Prudence, the irresistible brown tabby at the center of Gwen Cooper’s tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, which is mostly told through the eyes of this curious (and occasionally cranky) feline.

When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she knows she’s found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn’t come home. From Prudence’s perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They’re carrying boxes. Before they even get to the front door, Prudence realizes that her life has changed forever.

Suddenly Prudence finds herself living in a strange apartment with humans she barely knows. It could take years to train them in the feline courtesies and customs (for example, a cat should always be fed before the humans, and at the same exact time every day) that Sarah understood so well. Prudence clings to the hope that Sarah will come back for her while Laura, a rising young corporate attorney, tries to push away memories of her mother and the tumultuous childhood spent in her mother’s dusty downtown record store. But the secret joys, past hurts, and life-changing moments that make every mother-daughter relationship special will come to the surface. With Prudence’s help Laura will learn that the past, like a mother’s love, never dies.

Poignant, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny, Love Saves the Day is a story of hope, healing, and how the love of an animal can make all of us better humans. It’s the story of a mother and daughter divided by the turmoil of bohemian New York, and the opinionated, irrepressible feline who will become the bridge between them. It’s a novel for anyone who’s ever lost a loved one, wondered what their cat was really thinking, or fallen asleep with a purring feline nestled in their arms. Prudence, a cat like no other, is sure to steal your heart.

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