04 September 2014

It's Like This, Cat: 1964 Newbery Award Winner

The beginning of March 2014 I started a new undertaking: reading every single Newbery Medal Winner book. A number of them I have read in the past, but I am reading them with fresh eyes,and reviewing them for others. I am not reading them in order, as some will require some effort on my part to find them all.  Want to keep track of which books I read?  Check them out at Confessions of a Wannabe Reader!
It's Like This, Cat.jpg
Cover of the book - Used for Identification purposes only under the fair use clause

Dave Mitchell: Seeing Through New Eyes

" My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy.  This is one reason I got a cat."

Dave Mitchell is a normal teen growing up in New York City.  He is fourteen and doesn't see eye to eye with his father, which cases many shouting matches.  When they yell at each other, Dave's mom has another asthma attack.  It is after one such fight that Dave storms out, headed to the crazy cat lady Kate's home.  He meets a striped stray tomcat and decides to bring the cat home.  Naming the cat Cat, Dave starts to notice that Cat brings about a strange series of events.  First, Dave meets the strange young man Tom Ransom while trying to rescue Cat from a locked cage.  Then, while on the beach at Coney Island with Cat, he meets a sweet teenager named Mary and begins to date her.  Lastly, he begins to realize that maybe life with his dad isn't as hard as he thought, and starts to see that his family isn't as overbearing as he imagined, all because of an old tom named Cat.

Written by Emily Newville, It's Like This, Cat is a coming of age story.  Set in the late 1950s or early part of the 1960s, the has a whimsical feel of the era that happened right before the turbulence of the hippie generation.  The book is a story about a boy, his love for a cat, and the relationship he has with his father.

It is a story about learning how to perceive people, and how perceptions can change over time.  Dave sees his dad as overbearing and always yelling, but doesn't see that he is much like his dad.  He sees his mother as quiet and shy and sickly, not understanding that he and his father both have been stressing her out.  His friendships change as he grows older, and while he doesn't understand it, he vents to his cat.  Cat takes everything in and becomes Dave's confidant.  Cat also helps him to make new friends like Tom Ransom and Mary whom allow him to grow, and those friends grow with him as a result.  Dave is starting to shed his childlike perceptions and see the world through adult eyes.

This wasn't the first time I have read this book, but it was the first time I read it with the intent to study it.  It is a good read.

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