Official Review: The Virgin Cat by Clive Lilwall

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inaramid
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Official Review: The Virgin Cat by Clive Lilwall

Post by inaramid » 20 Oct 2018, 22:24

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Virgin Cat" by Clive Lilwall.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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If you’ve ever spent an inordinate amount of time watching cat videos on YouTube, you may want to check out Clive Lilwall’s The Virgin Cat: A Feline Fantasy. But don’t expect fun and games. Not all kitties are created equal, and as the ironically named Happy, a Tabby Point Siamese cat, will tell you himself in this faux-autobiography, he is a grumpy cat by nature.

Happy tells his story in three parts — his kittenhood, his adventures in middle age, and his retirement years. Adopted by the couple M and Jill from an animal shelter in Toronto, Canada, Happy moves to a suburban neighborhood in Ontario with his new human family. Life is simple, and like all cats, Happy likes to “stick to the basics.” Sex is another matter though. Happy wants to have sex, but after a sudden visit to the vet, Happy remained a “virgin cat” for all eternity. Despite this, there are other “firsts” in store for him: his first kill, his first adventure, and his first love. He grows up, tests the boundaries of his domain, learns more about the world beyond his backyard, and forges new relationships. Through it all, Happy waxes philosophical about the usual issues of feline existence: sex, freedom, love, family, death, and yes, the meaning of life.

For the most part, The Virgin Cat provides a candid look on the inner world of a precocious character coming of age. Ignore the species of the narrator for a moment, and it will be easy to imagine that — at different points in the narrative — the thoughts belonged to an emo teenager, a man in the midst of a midlife crisis, and a grouchy old bloke. Between descriptions of the daily grind of life and commentaries on the things he sees around him, Happy also goes in tangents with some feline fun facts. (Do you know of the fearless cat who survived a descent in Niagara Falls inside a barrel in 1901?) Happy also addresses some common myths about his kind. Are black cats bad luck? No, that’s superstitious nonsense. Do cats really have nine lives (or seven, if you ask the Germans)? No. Cats are just clever. When they fall off a building, they don’t scream. They plan how to land.

It may be difficult to reconcile Happy’s thought processes to the cute and furry image that we’ve come to associate with domestic cats. However, his dispassionate logic is refreshing, and his take on topics like prejudice (“But how can you hold the colour of a cat’s fur against it?”) feels profound in its simplicity. At only 86 pages, there’s really not much room for a plot, and apart from his encounter with a colony of feral cats, Happy’s life is — from an entirely human perspective — very uneventful.

As a cat owner myself, I enjoyed Happy’s perceptions of the human world and all that come with it. The illustrations of Happy and his posse also add a charming touch to the story. However, the book could still benefit from another round of proofreading to check for a handful of punctuation issues and typographical errors.

I rate The Virgin Cat 3 out of 4 stars. The preoccupation with sex, especially in Happy’s younger years, may be unsuitable for young readers and may throw others off. Still, cat lovers may want to dig into this book for a rarely seen serious and philosophical side to their favorite feline.

******
The Virgin Cat
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Post by gen_g » 21 Oct 2018, 01:16

This sounds absolutely intriguing! It reminds me a little of Adrian Mole...? Thanks for the lovely review!

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Post by inaramid » 21 Oct 2018, 01:45

gen_g wrote:
21 Oct 2018, 01:16
This sounds absolutely intriguing! It reminds me a little of Adrian Mole...? Thanks for the lovely review!
...if written by a cat. :) Thanks for dropping by!

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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 21 Oct 2018, 03:03

For the most part, The Virgin Cat provides a candid look on the inner world of a precocious character coming of age.
Hahaha! This had me in splits. As usual, great review. However, I won't be adding this to my TR list since I am not interested in the subject matter. Thanks for the review.

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Post by Sahar Majid » 21 Oct 2018, 08:32

This is honestly such a fun review to read. I love the sense of humor! I think I would totally read this book and I love how it brings to light the unfair treatment that is particular to cats but still seems to be relatable on many levels. Congratulations on the great review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 21 Oct 2018, 18:55

I love the idea of a cat as the main character. I just can't see that cats would have the same preoccupation with sex as humans. That's a bit too much for me. For that reason, I'll probably skip this one. It's too bad because I like the premise.
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Post by inaramid » 21 Oct 2018, 20:03

Debjani Ghosh wrote:
21 Oct 2018, 03:03
Hahaha! This had me in splits. As usual, great review. However, I won't be adding this to my TR list since I am not interested in the subject matter. Thanks for the review.
:lol: :lol: :lol: Thanks for dropping by!

Sahar Majid wrote:
21 Oct 2018, 08:32
This is honestly such a fun review to read. I love the sense of humor! I think I would totally read this book and I love how it brings to light the unfair treatment that is particular to cats but still seems to be relatable on many levels. Congratulations on the great review!
True. A quick and fun read for older readers. Thanks for commenting!

kandscreeley wrote:
21 Oct 2018, 18:55
I love the idea of a cat as the main character. I just can't see that cats would have the same preoccupation with sex as humans. That's a bit too much for me. For that reason, I'll probably skip this one. It's too bad because I like the premise.
:lol: It could be a bit jarring. Thanks for dropping by!

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Post by T_stone » 21 Oct 2018, 21:09

I like that the cat was the main character in the novel. However, I think I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the review
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Post by fredrick otieno » 22 Oct 2018, 09:10

What a brilliant well thought book. This is not just a good read, but also a way to find about cats. Including certain myths we have always had about cats. I would want to try it. Thanks for the review.

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Post by teacherjh » 24 Oct 2018, 09:38

This sounds like a really fun read. Most books with animals as narrators are made for kids. It's interesting to find one geared toward adults.

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Post by HollandBlue » 24 Oct 2018, 11:48

I love cats, and any book about them. This one, taken from the cat's perspective, sounds like a fun read. Thanks for your review!
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Post by Book Lover 35 » 25 Oct 2018, 22:27

This book sounds fun. I love cats so I would definitely be interested. I love that there's a picture involved. Thank you.
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Post by Eva Darrington » 28 Oct 2018, 23:52

inaramid wrote:
20 Oct 2018, 22:24
Cats are just clever. When they fall off a building, they don’t scream. They plan how to land.
:D What a fun review. I am a cat person and enjoyed hearing a bit about Happy's story. I have read books narrated by animals and kind of like the point of view. My seal point siamese was, as a young guy, also quite sex-obsessed. I don't think, however, he would have been a very good narrater. Thanks for the fun review.
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Post by Cotwani » 31 Oct 2018, 14:42

This is an interesting premise. Happy sounds amazing. I wonder what activities she pulls out of in retirement!
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Post by inaramid » 02 Nov 2018, 01:07

Eva Darrington wrote:
28 Oct 2018, 23:52

:D What a fun review. I am a cat person and enjoyed hearing a bit about Happy's story. I have read books narrated by animals and kind of like the point of view. My seal point siamese was, as a young guy, also quite sex-obsessed. I don't think, however, he would have been a very good narrater. Thanks for the fun review.
The author did channel his love of cats here. This really is more of a love letter to a beloved pet. Thanks for dropping by!

Cotwani wrote:
31 Oct 2018, 14:42
This is an interesting premise. Happy sounds amazing. I wonder what activities she pulls out of in retirement!
He certainly is. Thanks for dropping by!

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