Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers - Lillian Jackson Braun

The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers
By: Lillian Jackson Braun
Published: 2007
Audiobook Read by: George Guidall
My rating: Fair

I started this book with high expectations but in the end I really wasn't impressed. When I chose this particular title from the shelf I didn't realize that there were over two dozen titles that precede it in the series. I will have to try a couple from the beginning and hope that I figure out what's going on.

Jim Qwilleran is an interesting character and I quite enjoyed hearing about his relationship with his friends, both human and feline. He leads the kind of life that I envy; as a writer spending his time writing about life as he sees it. I love the way he casts around looking into this and that for a story, never knowing when something is going to pop up and spark inspiration. He is such a gentle person and I found that I was wishing he were my neighbor!

Koko and Yum-Yum are delightful to hear about. Their feline antics are both comical and totally true to cat form! I love Koko's flying squirrel act from the balcony onto the couch, surprising anyone who might be sitting there! Lillian has given these cats deep characters despite the fact that they neither talk nor play any significant roles in the plot. In my opinion they were the biggest redeeming quality in the book, I couldn't help but fall in love with them!

The plot was the problem. I really can't put my finger on what the plot was! I started out under the impression that these were mystery books, but although there were several mysteries in the making, there was never really one that was followed and solved! I found myself over halfway through the book wondering what in the world it was supposed to be about! I enjoyed the little conversations, the antics of the cats, the thoughts and ideas that ran through James' head, but never could find a plot to follow. The description of life around Moose County gave me a pleasant feeling as though I was watching Andy Griffith in Mayberry. I was left flabbergasted though, when in the final few minutes of the book, James' precious barn, his summer abode, was burned down and he didn't do anything! From what I could tell, James simply went home to his apartment and commented that he was glad the cats hadn't been there!

My hope is that had I followed the series from the beginning, I would have understood more of what was going on. I do intend to start at the beginning of the series and give it another try but I still feel that each book should at least be able to stand alone to some extent. The writing style is wonderful and the cats are a delight so I know that there is the makings of a really great story here, let's hope I find it! After giving the beginning a try, I might have to revisit this review. I certainly hope so!

 I listened to the audiobook read by George Guidall. He does a spectacular job and despite my disappointment in the book itself, I very much enjoyed his performance! His voice is so easy to listen to and the expression he gives each line is perfect. I very much hope I'll here more from him!

Overall, this wasn't the worst book I've come across, but I would suggest that you start with the first book of the series instead of making the same mistake I did. I will not pass judgment on the entire series based on this book taken out of order and I hope you won't either!

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