[It’s Like This, Cat]: A Review

Hi y’all!

Hope you are enjoying spring and looking forward to the summer! We feel bittersweet about it at our house. 

I find myself under a mountain of reviews that need to be written. While I am actually a bit ahead on my 100 books read this year goal (so says Goodreads), that makes keeping up with reviews a bit more difficult. So here I am with a review of It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville. 

This book won the Newbery Medal in 1964. And it certainly reads like an artifact of the past. Fun fact, my mom got me this book for my birthday this year from my favorite second hand bookstore. Not my favorite book, but definitely fun to be reading Newbery winners with my mom! 🙂

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According to Goodreads, “Dave Mitchell and his father disagree on almost everything—and every time their fighting sets off his mother’s asthma, Dave ends up storming out of the house. But when Dave meets a big, handsome tomcat, he decides to bring him home, no matter what his father has to say about it.

With adventure-loving Cat around, Dave meets lots of new people—like Tom, a young dropout on his own in the city, and Mary, the first girl he can talk to like a real person.

And as his eyes open to those around him, Dave starts to understand his father a little better. They still don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but there is one thing they can both agree on: Having a cat can be very educational—especially when it’s one like Cat.

There are parts of this book that are quite nice. Some moments I found myself enjoying the book. A few favorite parts:

  • I enjoyed the anecdotes of life in NYC in the 1960’s. Life was simple. I enjoyed the misadventures of our protagonist and Cat as they go around the city– to Coney Island, to visit the cat lady, to see Tom at his filling station job, meeting girls, riding the subway. Although I also have to admit I was surprised by how freely he roams the city on his own as a teenager.
  • I was surprised to actually like Cat. Cat is a rather enjoyable animal. And a realistic one. He doesn’t really like other cats, doesn’t love people. He does his own thing and is a bit boring. Somehow that makes him endearing. Haha!

However, this is not a very memorable book. I can’t remember most of the character names already–not even the protagonist! The action is enjoyable but not gripping or anything terribly memorable. It simply documents life during this time and there happens to be a cat involved. I am still a bit puzzled by the title. Is it ironic? Is it serious? Is it all told to the cat? I wasn’t sure. I finished this book glad I checked off another Newbery winner but I don’t think I’ll read it again.

There were some loose ends that I would have liked to be resolved at the end of the story. I thought there would be more development with the relationship with our protagonist and the girl. That seems to be going well but we don’t get any sense of if it will continue to go well. Also how does everything end with the cat lady’s inheritance? That is an interesting subplot because she doesn’t want the money. But we don’t get any closure there either. The story just ends rather abruptly. And I felt a bit confused by that. 

A  nondescript Newbery winner that didn’t grip me. There were parts I liked but also boring parts. And of course its about an animal, or at least titled for an animal which I am discovering is a rather favorite topic (albeit also rather uneventful one) for especially older Newbery winners.

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How do you react to award winning books that are older?
Do you think books are usually more exciting if they’re written more recently?

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I read this Newbery Medal winner as a part of my Newbery Challenge.
My current goal is to read at least 1 Newbery Winner a month until I’ve read them all.

2 thoughts on “[It’s Like This, Cat]: A Review

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