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Cynthia ArbuthnotMerrill Joan Gerber tells the true, heartfelt story of her aging mother and an orphaned kitten she found under her house. This story contrasts the sad fate of an old woman who is confined to a nursing home and who daily expresses her wish to die with the budding life of a Manx kitten who is learning to live. While Gerber's mother constantly complains about her paralysis, the neglect of the nursing home staff, and the parade of roommates, Maxie the kitten, bounces around the house tearing up furniture and purring in the laps of his adoring fans. To perk her mother up, the author brings the new arrival in a cage to meet her mother, only to have the kitten rejected. However, with time, even Mother learns to love the kitten in her own way (she names him) and asks after his welfare.
This book brings both joy to the heart and tears to the eyes. Anyone unfamiliar with nursing homes and dying parents soon becomes aware of the sadness and helplessness attached to modern aging. People now live longer and sometimes suffer lingering deaths as a result. Not only is this hard on the elderly, it is also tough on their children. The grown children have to see the suffering and try to deal with the problems that are a part of nursing home care. They feel guilt at not being able to care for their elderly parents themselves. The addition of the new helpless kitten made this a wonderful book because the reader laughs at the antics of the little animal. He, too, is helpless, but he is also hopeful for his future as a grown cat. This book seems to be about life and death as well as a writer's journey into the reversal of roles in taking care of her mother.
Copyright 2000 by Cynthia Arbuthnot for Sharpwriter.com. All Rights Reserved.