This post is part of a blog tour organised by Random Things Blog Tours. I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
“Amy wrote a love letter… a note to the love of her life.
“Only Molly never read it. Even if she’d been alive when it was written, failing eyesight would’ve prevented her from making out the words.
“Besides which, she was a cat. And cats can’t read.
“No ordinary feline, Molly lived a life full of challenge and adventure, determined not to let gradual blindness hold her back.
“This is that letter and - against all the odds - Molly’s long-lost memoirs…”
Soulcat, by Amy Vaughan-Spencer, comprises two halves. The first is Amy’s story of adopting a tabby and white cat, Molly, and their life together until Molly’s death at the age of around 14. The second is Molly’s account of the same events, as well as her experiences before she came to live with Amy. We get to see Molly in precious photos by Craig Aitchison and cute illustrations by Ellypop.
As a cat enthusiast, I found this a lovely book about the special feline in an individual’s life. It’s clear how much Amy loved Molly from the lengths she went to in order to ensure Molly was happy and comfortable, and the detail she goes into about Molly’s activities and quirks. Some of these had me nodding my head wryly in recognition of universal cat logic, while others were more specific to Molly, particularly as she adapted to her worsening vision.
Amy was in her twenties when she acquired Molly from a colleague during a stint as a medical receptionist in Glasgow. Over the following years, Molly was a big constant for her throughout several jobs, quite a few house moves, and three relationships. I was interested by Amy’s trajectory in theatrical stage management, from short-term roles that often took her away from home, and temporary stop-gaps, to the more stable job she eventually attained.
The story also highlights how hard it can be to find rented accommodation that will even allow pets, let alone provide a safe, suitable environment for them. There were periods where the best option was for Molly to stay with one of Amy’s parents, and the pair really missed one another.
Molly’s side of the story is very imaginative and amusing, as Amy gives her a dignified, distinctive voice and a vivid backstory. Molly is characterised as highly observant, frequently baffled by human behaviour, and prone to catastrophising (no pun intended). Her explanations for the things she did that worried or confused Amy are so strangely logical (as well as funny and adorable) that I often forgot that they were actually written by the same person!
Soulcat is an imaginative and humorous pet memoir that’s simply lovely.