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This is a review of the 2010 true story book 'Casper the Commuting Cat' by his owner Susan Finden.
I don't buy these books as a rule but...
I firstly need to point out that I am a cat lover but I don't like to read books about cats, especially true stories as the star of the story tends to have died by the time the book is written and printed and I get upset about any cats that die, even when I didn't know them. However, as friends know I am a cat lover they tend to buy me cat related gifts and so this book was given to me by a friend whilst I had a stay in hospital (my daughter was ill so I spent many hours in a chair by her cot) and she thought I could read it whilst she was sleeping.
I kept the book to one side for a bit as I knew it would upset me. In fact the owner breaks the news that Casper is dead and on not good terms in the foreword so it's not a shocker in the book when it happens. That in mind, my life's in a right pickle at the moment (work related) and the slightest thing makes me cry so I thought I might as well get it out my system and read the book then let the floodgates open.
Casper the black and white cat
Enough about me. This book is all about the beautiful black and white cat Casper who is a rescue cat (yay!) and is loved so much by his owner. But as all cats he chooses what life he wants to live and this one just likes travelling!
In the book, the chapters are mainly written by Susan but this is interspersed with Casper chapters where he gives a few rules and pointers to help in life generally.
The owner Susan is a dedicated cat owner and has had many treasured moggies throughout her life. Her husband is also supportive of her love of cats. Although she is worried about Casper's love of riding the buses there's not a lot she can do about it. Casper prefers a certain brand of bus - First - which operate in his home town of Plymouth. Susan manages to make contact with some of the staff who work there and they are all very kindly about Casper. They even run a campaign on the buses using Susan and Casper's image!
This book is a true account of Casper's exploits and these are written to the best of Susan's knowledge. I am sure there are some adventures that she doesn't even know about. This cat even used to leave the bus and get on another connection too and somehow made it home every time! A bit of a miracle really.
I know not everyone loves cats and if you don't like them then this book's probably not for you. I sped through the book in one evening and yes I did cry at the end. This book would make a nice gift to a cat loving friend I think.
It was on a Sunday afternoon during the middle of last year whilst browsing through a magazine that accompanied the Sunday newspaper that I stumbled across an article on Casper the Commuting Cat. As my beloved 16 year old half Persian cat Maizie (as in my photograph) hadn't long died I felt somewhat sad when I saw the image of a cute little black and white cat staring back at me. It seemed that everywhere I looked there were so many reminders of my beloved little furry friend that simply made me want to sit down and cry. However, I read the article and the tears flowed, as whilst the story was wonderful, it brought back many memories for me - some happy and some sad. The article was an extract from a book named Casper the Commuting Cat written by Susan Finden and I immediately wanted to read more, so placed an order with Amazon. I haven't written a book review before, but this story really touched my heart, so I made a product suggestion to Dooyoo to enable me to tell you a little about Casper.
The front cover of the book is so appealing, as we see a photograph of Casper where he wears a guest travel pass around his furry little neck and he sits comfortably on a suitcase with a tag displaying his name. The book is exactly as the title suggests, as Casper was a real life cat who enjoyed commuting. He became a national celebrity in Plymouth, as he regularly took the No. 3 bus on 11 mile journeys around his home town and the author of the book was actually the devoted owner of cute little Casper. Each day Susan would notice that Casper was disappearing, but little did she realise that he was enjoying a free bus ride and that her little pet was quickly becoming a celebrity. The 228 page book discusses Casper's various travels and the people he befriended along the way, such as the bus drivers and passengers who all got to know him extremely well.
Casper became so famous that he even opened a Facebook account where well wishers would leave him messages. You will have noticed that I have referred to Casper in the past tense, as sadly he was killed by a car during the early part of 2010 and as a result his Facebook page was flooded with messages from all over the world. It was after his death that his owner learned of his escapades, which prompted her to write the story, which is introduced to us by Casper himself, as he talks to us from a place on the other side, named The Rainbow Bridge. This book really warmed my heart and the author's style of writing would appeal to all ages. Whilst the book is sad in many places, she tries to keep a sense of humour throughout and discusses her love and devotion for our little furry friends. What I loved about the book is that it brought me great comfort at a time when I was feeling so low after losing my own pet and we even have quite a few pages written by Casper himself where he has stamped his little paw print.
I was hesitant on whether or not to advise in my review of Casper's death, but this information is provided on the reverse of the cover and it is this reason that encouraged the owner to write her story, which is dedicated to Casper and another reason is that the book starts with the end of the story. Following Casper's initial introduction the author brings us to the present day where she discusses her love of cats, then we are whisked back to her childhood where she talks about her family and upbringing. What I adored about the book is that much of it is written from a cat's perspective, which is so cute and any animal lover would be able to relate to the author's words and Casper's opinions. Casper is very naughty at times and it is quite funny when he advises us of how daft humans sound when they speak to animals in silly voices! You may think that this is a childrens' book, but I can assure you that it will appeal to all ages and at the age of 43 I simply loved it and read it from cover to cover in a few hours. It's the type of book that I would pick up over and over again, as I could never tire of Casper's mischievous antics.
Whilst there are a good few colour photographs of various cats contained in the centre of the book I would like to have seen more images of Casper. The author's writing style is witty, down to earth and held my interest from start to finish, as she writes from her heart. Of course, it would help if you are an animal lover for you to really appreciate and enjoy this book, which had me in both laughter and tears, as I found it very emotional in places. It is such a wonderful story and extremely moving and it is clear to all that the owner really loved little Casper and that she has a real passion and enthusiasm for our feline friends.
There is a lovely section on the inside back cover, which displays a photograph of Susan Finden with Casper, who was adopted from a rescue home in Weymouth. We are given a little information about the author, a mother of three who continues to look after rescue cats. What also really moved me above this book is a paragraph that is contained on the back cover, which states, I quote:-
"Casper offered a glimmer of light at a time when the country was going through recession and hardship and reminded all he touched that sometimes we have to open our hearts to the simple things in life".
This really made me think hard, as it is so very true and I will end my review on that thought ...
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for those of you who love cats, who own cats and for anyone who has lost a cat, as you will find this such a moving yet extremely enjoyable read. Consequently, this book receives a well deserved 5 stars from me.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
You can purchase Casper the Commuting Cat from Amazon where it is available in three formats and at the time of writing:-
A new copy of the hardcover version will cost you £6.39 inclusive of P + P
A used copy of the hardcover version is available from £2.00 plus £2.80 P + P
Unfortunately, the paperback is not available until 11 June 2011, but can be pre-ordered for £6.29 inclusive of P + P
The Amazon Kindle version will cost you £6.99
Published by Simon and Schuster, 2010
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
This review will appear on both Ciao and Dooyoo under the same user name.