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

by Helen Brown

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2431947,405 (3.93)25
Member:pinkozcat
Title:After Cleo: Came Jonah
Authors:Helen Brown
Info:Two Roads (2013), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Cats, Brown, non-fiction

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

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English (18)  German (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Synopsis:
"We're just going to." 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 the 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 the most.
  KateBaxter | Jan 3, 2015 |
Katzen sind geheimnisvoll. In ihnen geht mehr vor als wir gewahr werden. Das wusste schon der ehrenwerte Sir Walter Scott vor mehr als 200 Jahren.
Auch Helen Brown, eigentlich eher ein Hundemensch, macht diese Erfahrung. Und nicht nur diese dank ihres widerstrebend aufgenommenen neuen Familienmitglieds: Cleo, eine kleine, schwarze aber dennoch sehr aristokratische Katze. Sam, ihr ältester Sohn, hatte sich das kleine struppige Fellbündel ausgesucht und starb kurz darauf mit neun Jahren bei einem Autounfall. Die Familie versinkt in bodenlosem Schwermut, nichts scheint die Finsternis erhellen zu können in der sie nun ihr trauriges Leben verbringt. Doch Cleo gelingt es bei ihrer Ankunft, Rob, dem kleinen Bruder von Sam, endlich wieder ein Lächeln in sein Gesicht zu zaubern. Im Sturm erobert sie die Herzen aller und lehrt die Familie das Leben wieder zu lieben, trotz (oder vielleicht gerade wegen) all der Schicksalsschläge die noch kommen.
Na super, noch so ein rührseliges Familienepos mit Katzenanhang, mag nun manche/r denken. Doch weit gefehlt, wenn auch Familie mit Katze durchaus zutreffend sein mag. Aber von rührselig keine Spur! Trotz der allüberwältigenden Trauer, die nach diesem Todesfall alle Angehörigen beherrscht, gelingt es der Autorin ihre Selbstironie zu bewahren und diese entsprechend schriftlich festzuhalten. So lesen sich die 379 Seiten ungeachtet der Schwere des Themas unerwartet leicht. Helen Brown gelingt ein wahrer Balanceakt: Den Tod eines Kindes und den damit verbundenen Schmerz ernsthaft, aber dennoch mit heiteren Aspekten zu erzählen, ohne jedoch damit etwas ins Lächerliche zu ziehen. Überzeugend schildert sie ihre Erkenntnis (dank Cleo!), dass die Trauer um einen geliebten Menschen nicht bedeuten muss, auf Freude im Leben zu verzichten. Und dass nichts wichtiger ist wie das Leben im Hier und Jetzt - es zu leben und zu genießen!
Ein wundervolles Buch, zum Lachen und Weinen. ( )
  Xirxe | Dec 2, 2014 |
A nice little cat story, heartwarming, - a perfect summer read. Not overly engrossing but tender and sweet. ( )
  JeanetteSkwor | Aug 31, 2014 |
Helen Brown took her animal loving son Sam to see a litter of kittens as he badly wanted one for his upcoming tenth birthday. The only kitten left is the runt, a tiny little scrap of black fur. Naming her Cleo it is arranged that the kitten would be dropped off to Sam in a few months time when she was old enough to leave her mother.

Sam’s love and total fascination in animals leads to a horrific accident. Shortly after his birthday while rushing an injured bird to a vet’s, he runs out in front of a car and is killed. The family is devastated – for Helen the grief is almost too much to bear. A few weeks later there is a knock on the door and Cleo is delivered. Helen insists that the kitten be taken away as she is no longer wanted but when Helen turns around and sees her younger son Rob smiling and cuddling Cleo she agrees to keep the kitten. Cleo is like a little whirlwind leaping from one moment of mischief to another, doing what comes naturally to kittens – ruling the roost. Yet in amongst the impishness, there is wisdom and compassion beyond human ken in this tiny furry companion. She knows when cuddles are needed, she knows when to distract from the depths of despair. After a while she not only heals their hearts, but allows them to move on with their lives. Rob is convinced Cleo tells him stuff in his dreams, that he will find friends and everything will be ok. It certainly appears that for the whole of her 24 years of life Cleo brings the right people into their lives at the right time. As a marriage ends, a career blossoms, love blossoms and illness strikes, Cleo is right there front, centre and in their face.

Helen Brown writes with a down-to-earth approach and never allows the story to get overemotional or melodramatic, even when tragic events occur. Helen’s story is about recovering after personal tragedy and the power of animals in that process; it is both heart-rending and very funny, sometimes on the same page. But it is honest and from her very soul. I recommend CLEO: HOW AN UPPITY CAT HELPED HEAL A FAMILY as it brings to the forefront the uncanny knowledge of our furry friends, the patience and restorative power of animal love. ( )
  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
Before I begin, I will disclose to you that I read this book very light at night, while obsession over a house decision (its good! It really is!)

So, as a result, this review is based on my reading of when I was not completely 100 % (which isn't fair, I know, but I won't be re-reading this book, and I want to review every book I read)

Okay, so the actual review. I loved this book! The author manages to write a memoir that is held together by the cat, but not really about the cat (make sense?) Cleo arrives at a time when she is most needed, and manages to distract the authors son with her cute kitten antics, the author with her cute kitten cuddliness. She even manages to distract with her kittenish destruction of the house. As Cleo ages from kitten to adult, to senior cat, we get the story of the family from divorce, to true love and happiness.

This is a warm, happy, sad, lovely written story that any animal lover will enjoy.

Also, and observation. It seems there are non-cat people who love that special, individual cat. Then there are those that love all cats, all places. The story is about the first person. She didn't want a cat, but acquired one anyway. The cat managed to become a very loved part of the family. When the cat died, it wasn't a cat to be replaced, but a family member. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Apr 6, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Brownprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peterzon-Kotte, SaskiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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.'
Quotations
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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