Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
I was so torn as to my feelings about this book.
On one hand, the author handled the cats so realistically that I said to myself He knows cats so well, he must have been one once!, then I had to laugh at that. The level of reasoning he brought to why cats do things was wonderful to read.
On the other hand, nothing other than the cat plotline worked for me. The dialogue was one of the worst parts for me.
If you read this line, from one character to another asking her to continue her story, how would you picture the speaker?
"Jennie dear--do you think perhaps you might go on now?"
I hear that as coming from an adult, an older male British man. (I could see it coming from a woman as well, if I hadn't known the character speaking was male.) The character is an 8 year old boy.
I don't know if it was an issue with British vs American (maybe British children do speak like that?), or maybe kids in 1950 (when this was published) spoke like that, or perhaps Gallico just didn't write dialogue well. I suspect it's one of the first two issues, as Time Garden (British book published in the 50s that I reviewed late last year) also had this same exact issue.
This just does not strike me as how an 8 year old boy speaks:
"After all," Peter repeated, "he did give us half his rations when he was probably hungry himself. And he didn't look foolish or funny when we ran off, he looked disappointed and lonely and miserable."
The other big BIG issue I had with the dialogue was that the accents were typed out. I HATE that.
"Noo then, I wouldna like to say exoctly or draw comparisons 'twixt yin and th' ither, though it strikes me the white one might verra well be a superior specimen."
Plot-wise, a boy gets hit by a truck and turned into a cat. I know we're supposed to just accept that and go with the story, but logic kept making me frown. The boy was in a bed after being hit, dying, and turns into a cat. The nanny (who dislikes cats) just tossed the cat out the door. What in the world will the adults think? Someone kidnapped the dying boy and left a cat in his place?
I only reached the 50% point of this book, and that was accomplished only with great effort. My Kindle tells me it took 2.5 hours to reach the 50% mark, but I swear to god it felt like it took me weeks of reading to get that far.
I'm sad this book didn't work better for me -- so many people loved it. I did like the cat parts of it, but for a story about a boy who turns into a cat, the cat parts were surprisingly few and far between.