Great title, great author, great book.
25 June 2009
I loved, loved, LOVED Stacy Horn's Waiting for My Cats to Die: A Morbid Memoir.
Of course, with a title like that (much like Anneli Rufus's Party of One: A Loner's Manifesto) you knew I was going to love it. But why should you read this book? Well, if you think you might have anything in common with a woman in her early forties who's looking for love, struggles with work and the parts of her job she can't stand, and who cares desperately for not one, but two cats who have diabetes and require some intricate cat care regimes, you might, like me, find that you feel quite close to Stacy Horn.
For the most part, it's a straightforward memoir, with chapters with recurring titles like "Cats," "Romance," "Work," "Death," etc. For a woman in her early forties, Horn seems to think about death a lot, but that's only natural considering her areas of interest (more on this later); the poor thing also spends a lot of time caring for her beloved cats Veets and Beamers (as her vet says, "Ladies and gentlemen, guard your cats! Any cat that comes near that woman gets diabetes!"), and running the social networking website that she started way before such things were cool (called Echo, at echonyc.com, it's a place where New York City residents can chat). She even periodically includes interviews that she does with older people, with such questions as "What are the main differences between the young you and the you now?" (which is a great question). She also includes thoughts about her friends and romances and how the two sometimes just don't work:
"Joe and I keep waiting for our friendship to turn into a When Harry Met Sally thing. We have this level of comfort with each other. When I was obsessing about my stomach, for instance, we compared fat rolls. Does it get any better than this? Feeling unself-conscious enough around someone to compare fat rolls?Joe and I can't help thinking things would be even better if we could somehow move into the more-than-friends category. We're so close...In the future people may marry for friendship. Maybe Joe is simply ahead of his time. There is, I have to say, something exquisitely cmforting about Joe's knowing when my TV holes are. TV holes are the times when there's nothing good on and it's safe to call. Is this enough to make a marriage?" (pp. 71-72.)
Oh, I love her. I actually fell into this memoir ass-backwards; Horn is the author of the spectacular nonfiction books The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad (one of the best True Crime books ever) and Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory; after reading those books, I finally figured out that I should probably see if she'd written anything else, and up popped this book. Do read it. For a morbid memoir, it's a lot of fun.