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After Cleo: Came Jonah by Helen Brown

After Cleo: Came Jonah (original 2009; edition 2013)

by Helen Brown

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2942538,184 (3.93)26
Title:After Cleo: Came Jonah
Authors:Helen Brown
Info:Two Roads (2013), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Cats, Brown, non-fiction

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CLEO: The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown (2009)



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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I'm actually REALLY glad to have finished this book.

I enjoyed the first few chapters; they were laced with the cuteness of Cleo and the bond she built with the family; which is familiar, since I have cats at home too. It made me go 'awwww~' on more than one occasion per chapter, but after the 5th-6th chapter onwards, anything other than that of Cleo was, quite honestly, boring.

I understand that the protagonist is literally overwhelmed with grief at the death of Sam. I definitely understand her situation, but after a while, it seems as if the protagonist contradicts her own opinions. She says that she doesn't like people who immerse themselves in self-pity, but that was EXACTLY what she did for a good period of time, months after Sam's death.
It may be because of my intolerance towards anyone who uses self-pity as a way to garner sympathy (then again, the protagonist said she's sick and tired of everyone's sympathy as well) or attention; which the protagonist says she hates as well.

Another thing that bored me was the way the author described scenes. I can tell that she's trying to be detailed, which is good, but somehow, it just doesn't get me, know what I mean? When it came to those parts, I just felt like skimming through the pages until it went back to 'story mode'.

I found it quite difficult to finish, because as much as I wanted to finish it as soon as I could, I also couldn't muster up enough interest to actually pick the book up to read. Most of the time, I forced myself to.

A little comparison, if I may, to one of the claims made by Good Housekeeping, stating that this book was the next Marley & Me. I can definitely spot instances where scenes are described in a similar fashion, but I beg to differ, if you'll forgive me. John (Grogan, author of Marley & Me) had a flair of describing scenes in detail, yet with humour, which unfortunately, I find that Helen kinda lacks.

I won't deny the 'lessons' that Cleo has taught, though. Being an animal lover myself, I definitely agree that animals DO have some sort of healing power. Not just in dogs like Marley, and not just in cats like Cleo. It could be your pet chameleon for all it's worth.

Then again, I MUST say that I mean no insult to Helen Brown. I understand that every author has their own writing style, and this was just my honest opinion. Will I pick up After Cleo? Probably not. But I've seen a good few readers who enjoyed this book. So I recommend taking my review with a pinch of salt, and not let it deter you from giving this book a shot.

Who knows, you may find that unlike me, you like it! ( )
  KrystleLow | Oct 27, 2016 |
The loss of a child cannot be replaced by the arrival of a pet, but the arrival of a new kitten can distract a person enough to get through the day. The author spins a tale of a little cat and its actions that brought laugher and love into a difficult situation. ( )
  bemislibrary | Jul 31, 2016 |
Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family by Helen Brown
292 pages

★★★★★ ♥

On January 21, 1983 a tragedy would occur to Helen Brown and her family – her 9 year old son would be killed when he was run over by a car. A couple weeks later Cleo, a rambunctious little kitten would enter their world and change it for the better. She would be there to comfort them through the death of Sam. She would also be there to witness divorces, more kids, marriage, and much more.

This book was suggested to me by my therapist. I have two things in common with this woman – I lost my son (given, in a very different matter but the loss of a child is…the loss of a child) and have my cat who has been a great relief to me through this year (I actually have two cats but only one likes to acknowledge my existence without the assistance of food being involved). The day I went into labor, it as was if my cat knew something was wrong before I did. He laid his paw gently on stomach and wouldn’t leave my side but would never lay on me as I was in terrible pain. After coming home from the hospital, he stuck by my side and 10 months later continues to be a great source of comfort.

I really enjoyed and appreciated this book so much. What this woman writes was soothing to me because it was nice to know someone felt the anger and the sadness I felt. She writes wonderfully. She is descriptive and honest from beginning to end. I have read complaints from people who felt the cat, Cleo, wasn’t as much as a focus as they had wanted and I can see that. But for me, it was about so much more. It’s about finding the beauty and joy in the little things. It’s about resilience and courage to move on with life. It’s about showing emotions and having hope. It’s about a cat and her love for her family. People are regularly telling me I should stay away from these books – that I should read happy, upbeat stories. But it is these books that help me the most because for those 300 pages I’m with someone who understands and isn’t that what anyone wants? To be understood? If you’re a cat lover, I think you will enjoy this book but be prepared that it’s more than just a story about a cat. And you might want a tissue or two while you’re at it.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
This was a lovely book about a cat who helped a family live and laugh again after the shocking death of nine year-old Sam. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
In 1983 New Zealand journalist Helen Brown brought her 2 young sons to a friends' home to see new-born kittens. Nine-year-old Sam instantly fell in love with the tiny black kitten and he and his brother, 6-year-old Rob, pleaded with their mom to let them have the kitten. Reluctantly agreeing, Helen told her boys that they would have to wait until the kitten was old enough to leave its mother in about 2 months. Sam named the soon-to-be pet Cleo, short for Cleopatra. Tragically within 2 weeks Sam would be killed when he was struck by a car when he stepped out from behind a bus. Helen, her husband Steve and Rob were devastated by the loss, especially Rob who had been with Sam at the time of the accident. When Helen's friend delivers the tiny black kitten several weeks later Helen is not sure if she can handle another living creature with needs and demands. Rob clings to the kitten and Helen agrees to give it a try. Within a few hours Cleo's antics have Mom and son laughing, something they had not done since Sam's death. Cleo establishes herself as a valued family member, one who always seemed to sense when a warm purring cat on the lap would be exactly what a grieving human needed. Through 23 years Cleo gave unconditional love to the family even when Helen and Steve divorced, Rob went off to college and faced a debilitating illness, several household moves and a new love.

If you are a cat lover you will definitely want to read this one and even if you're not the story of a resilient family who overcome some unbelievably difficult times will move you.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Brownprimary authorall editionscalculated
Peterzon-Kotte, SaskiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To those who say they aren't cat people but deep down know they are.
First words
A cat chooses it's owner, not the other way around.
'We're not getting a kitten,' I said, negotiating our stationwagon around a bend the shape of a pretzel. 'We're just going to look at them.'
Mothers are the ultimate power junkies. When we lift a newborn human from our bodies we experience an adrenaline high far headier than anything Bill Gates or Pablo Picasso knows about. Multi-zillion-dollar businesses and the world's greatest art fade to trinkets alongside the miraculous creation of a human being. The reason so few women become great concert masters, politicians and inventors isn't so much because of prejudice (not that there's a shortage) or lack of opportunity (hardly a drought of that, either). Why would anyone bother writing a symphony when she can create a collection of cells that will one day ask to borrow her car?
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Book description
Helen Brown wasn't a cat person, but her nine-year-old son Sam was. So when Sam heard a woman telling his mum that her cat had just had kittens, he pleaded to go and see them. Helen's heart melted as Sam held one of the kittens in his hands, with a look of total adoration. In a trice the deal was done - the kitten would be delivered when she was big enough to leave her mother. A week later, Sam was dead. Not long after, a little black kitten was delivered to the grieving family. Totally traumatised by Sam's death, Helen had forgotten all about the new arrival. She was ready to send the kitten back, but Sam's younger brother wanted to keep her. There was no choice: Cleo had to stay. Kitten or not, there seemed no hope of becoming a normal family. But Cleo's zest for life slowly taught the traumatised family to laugh. She went on to become the uppity high priestess of Helen's household, vetoing her new men, terrifying visiting dogs and building a special bond with Rob, his sister Lydia, Helen - and later a baby daughter.
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In the tradition of Marley & Me, "Cleo" is the story of an impish black kitten who teaches a grieving family to love and laugh again after the tragic loss of a child. "'We're just going to look.' Helen Brown had no intention of adopting a pet when she brought her sons, Sam and Rob, to visit a friend's new kittens. But the runt of the litter was irresistible, with her overlarge ears and dainty chin. When Cleo was delivered weeks later, she had no way of knowing that her new family had just been hit by a tragedy. Helen was sure she couldn't keep her--until she saw something she thought had vanished from the earth forever: her son's smile. The reckless, rambunctious kitten stayed. Through happiness and heartbreak, changes and new beginnings, Cleo turned out to be the unlikely glue that affectionately held Helen's family together. Rich in wisdom, wit, heart, and healing, here is the story of a cat with an extraordinary gift for knowing just where she was needed most"--Cover, p. 4.… (more)

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