Book Review: The Good, the Bad and the Furry

I've always loved animals - to the extent I briefly entertained thoughts of becoming a vet or a zookeeper when I was a kid before realising I was rubbish at science - but in recent years my love for cats has come to the fore. I blame the Internet and its mild cat obsession; some days it seems like every second thing posted online is cat-related. One of those things is the MYSADCAT Twitter feed, 'written' by The Bear, an 18-year-old cat who belongs to writer Tom Cox and has won fans the world over with his maudlin outlook on life. Tom has also written three books about The Bear and his other cats, and his latest is The Good, The Bad and the Furry.

This is the third of Tom's books about life with his cats and picks up after the end of his relationship with his former partner, who has taken two of their cats with her, leaving him with The Bear, tarty tabby Ralph and sweary Shipley. During the course of the book, Tom moves to rural Devon, acquires a kitten named Roscoe (this is not a spoiler as she's mentioned on the back of the book) and finds new love, along with many other animal-related adventures.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is that it was really easy to dip in and out of, so it's a brilliant read for those of you who, like me, often only have a small window in your day to read. I also think that one of Tom's key strengths is being able to capture characters - from the cats, whose personalities shine through (there are some wonderful descriptions of them in this book), to Tom's dad, who speaks ONLY IN CAPITALS and is very concerned about the toad living in his shoe in the shed. Finally, the observational humour is lovely - very gentle, and always meant in an affectionate way. Tom's not out to mock but rather to celebrate the little quirks and foibles that make us human and those moments of everyday life that raise a smile and a chuckle. If you're a laugh-out-loud-book type of person this might not be for you, but at least it helps with the aforementioned bus reading...

Overall I really enjoyed The Good, the Bad and the Furry. I think it does help a little if you've read one or both of the previous books (I've read Talk to the Tail - you can read my review here - but not the first book, Under the Paw) or follow Tom or one of the cats on Twitter - Ralph and Shipley are at MYSMUGCAT and MYSWEARYCAT respectively - as that will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of style, but if you're an animal lover I think you'll enjoy it just as much if you're a newcomer. Definitely one of my favourite books this year.

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