(A Novel of the '80s)
Author Stephanie Schorow has put a new twist on so-called “Chick Lit” with something she has dubbed “Kit Lit.” In Cat Dreaming, her first adult contemporary novel, she traces five years in the lives of four women, exploring their relationships with each other, their lovers, and their cats. Set in the 1980s, the narrative follows the women as they strive for career success, joy in their personal lives, and the perfect amount of shoulder padding. We meet Tina, a fat girl in a thin girl’s body; Andrea, a confident professional who hides a secret bloody habit; Sarah, a dreamy, introspective editor bruised by rejection, and Electra, a fierce, funny working girl from Long Island pondering her ambivalence about men. Over Sea Breeze cocktails in fern bars, they often ponder an eternal question: “Which is better: Cats or men?” There are no easy answers: a cat saves Electra’s life, another drives Tina crazy with jealousy, and another gives Andrea the stability she craves. The novel begins with Sarah’s “accident,” a near-tragedy that baffles the women who can’t understand why their talented friend might want to harm herself. By delving into the women’s past, we discover inner demons that torment even most accomplished women. Through friendship, the right partners, and of course, their cats, the women discover their true strengths. With huge doses of humor, a pat of pathos, and a measure of ‘80s magical realism, Schorow paints a poignant and witty portrait of female and feline empowerment.
Cat dreaming is a state between consciousness and sleep, both lucid and hazy. In cat dreaming, you can chase mice or birds or bits of paper endlessly and effortlessly. Yarn hangs from the sky, feathers drift from the ceiling, tiny rubber balls never escape under the dresser out of reach. You can prowl along mossy trails, across alleys, through bushes and closets and screen doors. That’s why cats slept so much, Sarah said.
Thus was launched Poop Patrol. Taking turns, they would see who would get the most poops in one scoop. Strict rules for Poop Patrol evolved. You could only do one straight scoop, no zigzags. Poops smaller than a dime were worth only half a point. No touching the poops for the tally. The most poops at the end of the game won. Andrea remembers on one spectacular day, she got five poops in one scoop and her brother got none although they both spent the next twenty minutes trading off scooping because he kept insisting, “Just one more scoop.”
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