“If you allow yourself, you might like our story. It’s about cheese sandwiches, and an aquarium and a family. It has laughter and sadness and me, learning what it means to be human.”
Leonard is an alien. On his three hundredth birthday, like everyone from his planet, he gets the chance to spend one month on Earth as any creature he wants. He wants to be a human, but something goes a bit wrong and he finds himself in the body of a stray cat instead. He is also nowhere near the place he needs to be in order to be collected and taken home at the end of the month.
Leonard is fascinated by humans. He wants to know everything about them and the way they live. I loved that most of the things he wanted to achieve were quite simple (like making and eating a cheese sandwich). He thinks humans are wonderful, despite the mistakes they have made. My Life as a Cat reminded me that there is good in humans, and that humans are capable of great kindness, even though it doesn’t always feel that way. Leonard sees
As a cat, he is rescued by a young girl called Olive. Olive is going through some things; her dad died when she was little, her mum has a new boyfriend, Frank (the least said about him the better). Olive is struggling with her feelings about Frank and what it would mean for her if her mum were to move in with him. She is worried that she is too strange to make friends; there is a part where she is googling things like “signs you are hopelessly weird”, and that hurt my heart. I loved that she found a way to be herself with Leonard, and how he brought her comfort and helped to build her confidence in herself.
The other characters in the book are brilliant too. Stanley the dog was my favourite, I loved the bits where he was talking to Leonard and we get to see his dog perspective on the situation. Norma, Olive’s grandma, is wonderful. She has no idea that Leonard is anything other than a normal cat, but she goes along with him appearing in their lives and becoming part of their family for Olive. We see little moments of her grief too, and the bits where she and Olive share memories of Olive’s dad were really heartwarming. Q is also a brilliant character; he works in the aquarium and is really fun and lively, especially on their road trip.
I don’t want to say much more for risk of spoilers. This book is filled a gorgeous friendship and family and really lovely messages. The ending made my little heart happy and I grinned for ages when it was done. I can’t wait to share this one with S.