A CAT NAMED DARWIN: How a Stray Cat Changed a Man into a Human Being

William Jordan, Author . Houghton Mifflin $23 (208p) ISBN 978-0-395-98642-4

Cat fanciers will enjoy this memoir by a 45-year-old man who lived alone until his heart was stolen by an orange cat. Jordan, a biologist (Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature), was taking out the garbage one night when he discovered that a formerly well-cared-for cat he had thought belonged to a neighbor was, in reality, a stray, who scavenged food from garbage cans and was now gaunt and flea-bitten. His initial resistance was quickly overcome and the tomcat he named Darwin soon became the center of his adoptive owner's life. He describes how Darwin insinuated himself more deeply into his consciousness until Jordan finally allowed Darwin to sleep in his bed ("Thus Darwin and I became man and cat"). When Jordan is on assignment in England without Darwin, a vision of the cat as well as his scientist namesake suddenly appears to relieve his loneliness. Unfortunately, Darwin is diagnosed with the feline leukemia virus (requiring expensive treatments Jordan agrees to so that Darwin would be able to live comfortably for as long as possible), and after a long period of illness, dies. Though Jordan adopted another cat while Darwin was still alive, the author's relationship with that orange cat taught him to love. The author's self-deprecating style is what keeps this account from descending into mawkishness. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Paperback - 187 pages - 978-0-618-38228-6
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-547-83447-4
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