How can anyone with a black cat resist the cover of Tom Cox' The Good, the Bad, and the Furry? The subtitle, though, is a little misleading, "Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat". The Bear, the black cat on the cover, is part of Cox' account of life with his cats, but he doesn't seem to be the main focus.
I've seen pictures of The Bear on Facebook on those features that say, "My cat is melancholy because...". That's The Bear, and the black cat is adorable, appearing so sad. But, Cox' account is about all the cats that ruled his life when he was in his mid to late thirties after he separated from his long-time girlfriend. It's the story of his life in Norfolk, England, as shared with a menagerie of cats.
Despite my love of cats, and Cox' obvious love for them, the best part of the book isn't his rambling commentaries about his cats, but the stories of his loud father. At least in the Advanced Reading Copy that I have, his father's conversations are all in capital letters, indicating that his father speaks at the top of his lungs. And, I loved the wise comment made by his mother. Cox wondered why his dad seemed to love his parents' new cat, Floyd. His mom said, "I was wondering that too. And then I realized what it was. Have you noticed something? Floyd is always either completely switched on, or completely switched off. Who else do we know who's like that too?"
I think I found the book a little plodding because I wanted more about The Bear, and less about all the other cats that came and went. There was a little too much about Ralph and the way he said his name. The book was a little repetitive. But, the photos are wonderful, particularly in the chapter "Ten Reasons Why My Oldest Cat is Sad".
There are better cat books out there, but it's worth picking up the book for the photos alone. Perhaps I just didn't appreciate Cox' British humor. After all, the book was a Sunday Times bestselling memoir. It's definitely for cat lovers, though.
Tom Cox' websites are www.tom-cox.com and littlecatdiaries.blogspot.com
The Good, the Bad, and the Furry: Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat by Tom Cox. Thomas Dunne Books, 2015. ISBN 9781250063243 (hardcover), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.