Category Archives: pet memoir

Isn’t It Time to Retire the Crazy Cat Lady Stereotype?

By Julia Williams

I read an article recently that described cat ladies as “quitters” and lonely sad sacks who never leave the house. By contrast, dog ladies were said to be outgoing, athletic, adventurous and full of life. Stereotype much? The article went on to claim that while dog memoirs (aka dogoirs) are inspiring, life-changing things of beauty, no comparable thing could exist for cat memoirs because “cat ladies only get to be one thing: lonely.” Seriously? Excuse me while I hack up a hairball on that article. cough. gag. urk.

Ah, I feel so much better now! =^..^=

I wish I could say this article was satirical, that this stereotypical characterization of the sad sack cat ladies was a joke. But I can’t…because it wasn’t. And this, I must admit, did peeve me just a bit. It doesn’t surprise me though, given that Crazy Cat Ladies are perhaps the last group we – and by “we” I mean society – are still allowed to make fun of. In fact, many people get a big kick out of ridiculing women who love cats, as though there is something wrong with it, something so “abnormal” about it that these women couldn’t possibly be functioning, happy, friendly people who engage in life and with others. Again… cough. gag. urk.

I watched a dumb show once where one of the characters said “Women with candles replaces women with cats as the new sad thing.” Claiming that loving any animal can be sad just seems so idiotic to me. Dogs, cats, horses, hamsters, gerbils or bunnies – why should it matter to anyone else who or what we choose to love? Newsflash! I’m a woman, I love cats, and I am definitely not a sad sack. I’m not lonely either, not one teeny tiny bit. I even leave the house on occasion to interact with society! And guess what? I’m not an anomaly either. I happen to know many women who love cats, and none of them are lonely old spinsters hiding away in a house full of felines.

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Pet Memoirs are Taking the Literary World by Storm!

By Julia Williams

Our pets inspire and enlighten us in so many ways. They teach us important life lessons, and their very presence can help us overcome our struggles and bring about positive changes. Thus it should come as no surprise that countless pet owners with a story to tell have written books about their four legged friends. Moreover, the public is lapping up these heartfelt tales, and pet memoirs are dominating the publishing world like never before.

“The entire book industry has gone to the dogs,” said Diane Herbst in Newsweek. Books supposedly penned by the pets themselves are also barking and meowing their way onto bestseller lists in unprecedented numbers! These first person pet memoirs have effectively created brand new genres – they’re called “dogoirs” and “catoirs.”

How did the pet memoir trend start?

In the past, “dog books didn’t get on national bestseller lists,” said Publishers Weekly senior editor Dick Donahue. “That’s something we can credit Marley with.” He’s referring of course to the dogoir Marley & Me, John Grogan’s account of his family’s relationship with a mischievous yellow lab.

First published in 2005, the book went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. After the popularity of Marley, “People came out of the woodwork with their own dog stories,” said Susan Canavan, executive editor of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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