Bantam, $6.99, ISBN 0-553-58634-3
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 2004
The Cat’s Meow has a talking cat, amnesia, and wacky animal-lovers but the end result is an average tale equivalent to a middle-of-the-road daytime movie on the Disney channel rather than a genuinely amusing romantic caper.
Our lawyer heroine McKenna Wright has nowhere to go but up, or so she believes until she discovers the law of gravity when her BMW goes off the cliff and right down the beautiful rocky hillsides of Sedona, Arizona. She wakes up with amnesia, which makes her client Todd Harmon pretty happy as Mac had discovered evidence incriminating the rock star in a drug dealing which she is trying to defend Todd against in court and she’s really wavering towards turning the evidence in.
Amnesia-stricken Mac then gets fly-swatted when she realizes that in her pre-amnesia days she was a spendthrift career-obsessed person which makes her a bad person in Romance Land. Ms Carmichael teaches Mac some humility by making Mac lose her job and have to live in a trailer and work at McDonald’s. Her family members turn out to be everyone’s favorite Republican Old-Moneyed Bastards and Bitches from hell. Mac also realizes that her cat Nefertiti (or Titi for short) can now speak to her, which means poor Mac is never going to hear the end of the whole “Woman, repent!” thing she’s being put through. Even her romance with Tom Markham, the AD who wants to put Todd’s dealer behind bars, smacks of a misguided hippie-dipstick “Career is bad for you, woman!” angle. Mac isn’t even trying to remember her past as much as she is trying to prove to all that she is no longer that supposedly-terrible career-obsessed woman that she used to be.
The characters are pretty much cardboard cut-outs with very little depths to them. They play their designated roles adequately, with the good guys being who they are and the bad guys ramping up the hysterical villainy with glee. The talking cat isn’t amusing as much as she is that typical Sage Matchmaking and Advice-Dispensing Old Woman character one can usually find in this kind of stories, only this time it’s a cat rather than an old woman.
The Cat’s Meow therefore is an average tale that tries too hard to emulate a Disney-like TV movie. It doesn’t annoy but it doesn’t try to do much else. It’s predictable, familiar, formulaic, and forgettable. In other words, this is an adequate read to pass the time if I have really nothing else to read, but that’s about it, really.