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Sleeping with Cats: A Memoir Paperback – December 24, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060936045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060936044
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Born in the mid-1930s in a tough Detroit neighborhood, poet and novelist Piercy (Dance the Eagle to Sleep) fought grueling battles in her youth, involving difficult relationships with her parents, participation in a street gang and more. When she became pregnant at 17, her mother left her alone to perform an abortion on herself she almost bled to death and her hostile father once broke her fingers in the car door when she was late for a shopping trip. Piercy notes that her memoir's focus is her emotional life, but that understates the book's rich picture of her literary and political life. That life embraces 15 novels and just as many books of poetry, three marriages (one a 15-year open relationship in a communal household), sojourns in Chicago, San Francisco, Brooklyn and Paris, and a deep engagement in the political movements of the 1960s through the '80s. She peppers these events with charming vignettes of the many cats she's befriended during her life. Piercy is as convincing writing about her rough beginnings as she is describing her present status as the "cat lady" of her tiny Cape Cod town. "Remembering," she writes, "is like one of those old-fashioned black-and-white-tile floors: wherever I stand or sit, the tiles converge upon me. So our pasts always seem to lead us directly to our present choices. We turn and make a pattern of the chaos of our lives so that we belong exactly where we are." B&w photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Prolific poet and novelist Piercy retells her life from the bottom up, starting in working-class Detroit.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I read it for a few hours one evening, and nearly finished it the next.
Ron
Animal lovers will understand and appreciate the love she exudes in print for her four-legged family members.
Ellen C. Falkenberry
I also enjoyed the poems that punctuated the memoir as I had not to date read much of Piercy's poetry.
Gina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ellen C. Falkenberry on March 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Piercy shares with us her life - unsanitized, unpasteurized, in all its naked glory. She does not attempt to present herself as Saint Marge, but unapologetically offers her humanity. From her childhood in Detroit, through stints in Boston and California, then finally back to lovely Wellfleet, we see a brave, intelligent, strong woman struggling to live her life to the best of her ability. This book is an inspiration - I recommend it heartily to all women seeking to engage fully with life.
Ms. Piercy addresses the cats who have populated her life as completely as she does any of the humans. Animal lovers will understand and appreciate the love she exudes in print for her four-legged family members.
On the negative side, she sometimes jumps around from topic to topic, a bit disjointedly...but I pretended I was having a conversation over coffee with her, and the writing style fell into place.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ron on February 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My girlfriend loaned me this book. I read it for a few hours one evening, and nearly finished it the next. I worked in the NYC movement that Ms Piercy describes and knew people she mentions.
This is a memoir that I could call my own; it describes her, my, and our generation's journey from our working class backgrounds to our own knowledge-worker class, who put aside the acquisition of monetary success in favor of having a life in a small town, and sleeping with cats.
I'm a cat person, tho currently without one, and thoroughly enjoyed her cat stories. My story with my aging parents is similar to hers.
There is much laughter, here, in watching cats.
There are tears to be shed, too, watching cats, friends, lovers, parents, come into our lives and make their exits.
I'll buy my own copy, to read again and write down her quotes:
"Freedom is choice."
I'll buy this book for each of my children; it describes well the journey of me and many of my 60s friends.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Rhodes on February 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Lyrically written, Marge Piercy dances us through her childhood, coming of age, and adulthood. A portrait of the blooming of the new left in the sixties; open marriage, the flaws, fallacies, and avenues of personal growth; and cats, little cats and the specialness of old cats. I loved this book. I read it on my long commute home, and now that I have finished it, I feel like I am missing a friend. When I can think about it without crying, I will write a letter to Marge Piercy and tell her how much I loved this book.
An update: I did write to Ms Piercy, and much to my surprise, she wrote me back! I was pleased to learn she has added an Abyssinian cat to her current menagerie, a breed that have been my constanct companions since college.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jerseygirl_librarian on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a cataloging librarian and was working on Marge's latest novel when I decided to read up on her other books. As a new cat owner and a passionate woman I was attracted to this autobiography. Rarely do we ever see a memoir of a famous author's pets! I have to honestly say this is the best autobiography I have read in years. Yes, the language isn't perfect, just like the author, but it is a beautiful tale. I couldn't be more oppisite, not to mention from a totally different generation, then Ms. Piercy but I could still heartfully relate to her emotions. Her poems are treats and magically written. Yes, she does jump around and mentions things several times at different parts of the book but isn't that the way we speak of a memory? She is honest and wants you to become her companion, not a distance audience. If you have a pet you will relate to her heartfelt goodbyes to her beloved children. She keeps mentioning how she does not regret never having children, however this whole piece is her relationships with her 4 legged kids!:) What a beautiful, sincere and talented woman she is - I hope to one day meet her (update: I did! And brought this book. She told me that rarely do people bring this one when they meet her, she thought it was magical). I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an open soul.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have been a Marge Piercy fan for years, more of her novels than her poems. I eagerly snatched up this book and read it in one day. In some ways it reminds me of May Sarton's autobigoraphy though the two are quite different; Piercy writes from a less erudite, less upper-class, more working-class perspective.
Piercy writes honestly and openly about her life, loves, and trials and tribulations as a writer. It was especially interesting to read about how she still sees herself as struggling and working hard to make ends meet because she has not achieved the commercial success to make her rich. The strongest parts of the book for me were those about her relationships with men, particularly her three husbands. She does not hold back in detailing her hopes, denials of reality, and what she calls her "selfishness" in terms of making writing a priority. As she herself suggests she is not always the most "likable" person but she is honest, direct, and really makes you think. You really get to see how she evolves as a person, how she comes to stand up for what she really wants, not what society tells her she should do, e.g. stay in a marriage and "make it work." I cheered for her when she finally finds her "soulmate", or at least a partner that seems to understand her and make her happy.
The parts about the cats I could have done without, not being a cat person. I also wish there had been more about her political involvement; the emphasis of the book on her personal relationships with family, lovers and friends suggests that the "personal" has been more central to her life than the political. Though she does mention her involvement with pro-choice politics, her political activities are quite peripheral to the book.
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