on reading for bingo: part 2

Another blog post less than a week after the previous one? Who is she? It’s not that I was suddenly seized by a reading frenzy and completed Bingo, it’s just that I had a lot of thoughts about the following book.

The Cosy Cat Society by Charlie Lyndhurst [NetGalley e-ARC]

Honestly, I don’t even want to talk about this book. I’m not even linking to it because it was that bad. As a rule, I talk about books I like and shut up about the ones I don’t. Especially the ones for which I have zero good things to say. But Bingo must go on, so here we are.

A cat sanctuary is an excellent place to set a cosy story, and if done right, the book could have definitely lived up to its title. However, the author is working with several heavy themes. Which is not a problem by itself, but you can’t have a cosy, lighthearted story when every single character is going through incredibly tough and almost traumatic situations. Especially when none of them (the characters and their conflicts) are given enough substance or even screen time (page time?).

If I try to set that aside for a moment and enjoy the narrative as it flows, the writing immediately throws all the problems in the book into sharp focus. 90% of the story, the characters’ troubles and journeys, is ‘told’ in a few sentences. Let’s consider Anna. Anna struggles with hoarding and a lot of anxiety in general. Now, to be fair, her troubles are built up decently well over a few chapters. The setup is ready. She apparently reaches rock bottom, off screen. We’re then told she’s considering therapy. A few chapters later, we’re told she got a diagnosis and was put on medication. A few months later, we’re told that she is doing so much better and is in control of everything after her last (meaning final, not previous) therapy appointment. Now, if you were annoyed at the repetitive ‘we’re told’ in the last few sentences, imagine an entire book built in much the same way. Each of these major moments in Anna’s journey are given two sentences each. And that’s it. That’s her arc done, apparently.

It feels as though the author spent a lot of time creating several interesting (and emotionally heavy) setups for the characters and when they realised they were running out of time and cosy, they wrapped it all up in fifty words and a messy bow.

Also, every time characters are present in a scene, it’s like their troubles and worries are set to the side and they are suddenly fully capable and emotionally present for whichever character’s conflict is taking centre stage in that particular scene.

I don’t want to go on any longer. 

Okay, I can’t just bash a book and disappear. I’d not be able to sleep at night. So, two good things about the book. One, the cat sanctuary setting is delightful. There are detailed descriptions about how the sanctuary is run and all the care required for the cats. You can definitely feel the author’s love for these animals and the effort they’ve put into the research. Two, there’s a cute boy-meets-boy romance that is heartwarming. True, there are some cliched moments, but it does make you smile to see them happy.

And my reward for this … read is that I’m going to count it as my ‘free space’ entry on the Card. Four done. The diagonal is looking good. A re-read is something that can be easily sorted. Now to find a book with a title that begins with D.

A TBR of 200+ books should have at least one, no? 

Thank you NetGalley and Hera Books for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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