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The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat Hardcover – September 2, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"In the beginning," Foudini M. Cat explains, "I was not a housecat. I was born in a wall." This wise old cat tells his life story for the edification of Grace, a young cat new to the fold. His story includes an explanation of the behavior of his Assigned Persons, whom he calls "Warm" and "Pest"; the tolerance that evolves into love for "his" dog Sam; and charming memories of his orphaned kittenhood. Treated to fine feline philosophy, we learn that Foudini considers cats' reputations for aloofness and vanity completely undeserved: "what we ought to be celebrated for is our ability to exist alone and to dream." In his dreams Foudini visits cats of the rich and famous--Cleopatra and Sigmund Freud--and applies (with sometimes comic, sometime positive results) their advice. All this he tries to impart with generosity and warmth to Grace, who is, alas, "demented with youth." Though easily distracted, far more interested in catnip or naps in pooled sunlight, Grace does manage from time to time to talk back or pay attention.

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, author of 10 previous novels and a National Book Award nominee, has created an endearing narrative voice--refreshingly unsentimental and completely charming.

From School Library Journal

YA?A fast, easy-to-read novel. Foudini, a proud but not pompous feline, narrates his life story for Grace the Cat so that she might learn from his knowledge and experiences. His musings include everything from philosophy and Flying Feathered Feasts to the manipulation of Warm and Pest, their owners. The description of the relationship between Foudini and a dog is particularly touching as he moves from enemy to beloved friend. The story is realistic, correctly portraying the life of a pampered cat. Schaeffer's imagination is further shown as Foudini learns ancient cat wisdom from the ghost cats of Freud and Cleopatra. This novel should be shared with creative writing teachers as it could motivate students to describe their own pets. While not a first purchase, this is a gentle, touching book that's suitable for all pet lovers.?Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (September 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679454748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679454748
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,513,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book about a housecat is very deceptive. It's extremely funny and dead-on accurate about the way cats behave. I was convinced that Foudini's thoughts were real thoughts of a real cat. I couldn't put the book down and ended up staying up much too late to finish it and then began again the next morning. I've read some reviews here that say the book is an "easy read," and I suppose it is, but this is a wonderful book about mortality and loss and I found it very comforting. It was the only book I was able to read after my mother died. I hadn't been able to cry until I read FOUDINI, but somehow after reading, this book did the trick. I wouldn't have expected this result myself. I think this is a great book for all animal lovers, maybe the best book about animals I've ever read. I hope more people find their way to this book. It practically purrs itself.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MOVIE MAVEN on August 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Just looking at the title of this book, I rolled my eyes sourly and thought, "why would anyone give me this overly-precious book?" Not wanting to judge a book by its title, I began reading and was immediately hooked. What a lovely surprise: the author takes the viewpoint of a housecat and what life must be for a pet who was orphaned, was found and lived through the ups and downs of his loved-ones' lives.
This is a clever, simple, funny and, ultimately, very moving story of learning to live for today...and, of course, learning to love.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By cat2282@aol.com on June 20, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
I highly reccommend this book for any cat lover, anywhere. Cats are my absolute favorite animal and I've read lots of books about them but no book (until I read this one) accurately depicted what the cat was actually thinking!! I loved it, because I always wonder what my cats are thinking and Foudini's insight into the human world is both hilarious and charming. David Hyde Pierce is the perfect narrarator--I love and am a huge fan of all of his work, and as someone who's seen lots of his stuff, I think he does an exceptionally great job in this book--illustrating all of Foudini's different emotions and really making you identify with the characters in the book!! He also does a great job with the Freud voice and the voice of Sam the dog. I reccommend this book for anybody looking for something to listen to on a long car ride (if you buy the audiotape) or read at home any time. It's one of my favorite books ever--you don't want to miss it!!!!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rissa on July 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Although this is Foudini's autobiography, which he recounts for his cat, Grace, so that she will know what Life is like, the book is basically a love story about Foudini and his dog Sam. Foudini is rescued from the laundry room of an apartment building when he is still a small kitten. He is eventually adopted by a couple whom he names "Warm" and "Pest" and later befriends their dog Sam (at first Foudini thinks Sam is a wolf who wants to eat him but later they become very close companions). Much of the book details both conversations between Foudini and Sam and their games and adventures together, including the various times when Sam saves Foudini's life. I found parts of the book utterly charming, in particular the section in which Foudini explains why cats like heat so much as well as the section in which Grace tries to teach "Warm" how to speak cattish (I read this outloud to my husband -- it took me nearly ten minutes to read three pages, we were laughing so much). Schaeffer has clearly spent a great deal of time observing her own cats and here creates a universe for them that is richly populated with "dog fairy tales" and dreams in which real and mythological cats appear to Foudini to help him sort out his thoughts and emotions on various matters. The only real problem I had with the book was the ending -- one of those mythological cats that keep coming around should have told Foudini that two to three million homeless cats and kittens are euthanized in the US every year -- more kittens are not the solution to this problem. Still, it's definitely worth reading if you like cats or dogs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Huber on April 25, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful stoy. It helps to be a cat lover but even if you aren't it's an enjoyable book. It's so funny. Poor Warm she just can't speek cat, poor Foudini he's so embarrased by her attemps. It's also so sad. Foudini is a feral kitten born with no chance until a human takes him in. He remembers his poor mother who took good care of him but one day didn't come back from her search for food. His relationship with Sam is touching and heartbreaking. Grace brings joy and responsibilies to his life. I have five wonderful treasure all of whom someone else considered trash so I saw my furry babies in Foudini. This is a must read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you own a cat or love cats, you'll love this book. It's extremely well-written and draws you into the life of Foudini M. Cat from page one. The characterization of Foudini, Sam and Grace are convincing, humorous and touching. The most poignant scene between Sam and Foudini reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit, and was just as heart-warming. This is a great book for any adult cat-lover, and would also make a great book to read to young children.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Denise Bentley on January 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Foudini the cat, has decided to tell his story to Grace, the new kitten that has come to keep him company. She is sleek, beautiful and very young with much to learn. Foudini goes on to tell of his birth and life in a wall, and of his rescue by his assigned people, "Warm" because of her warm lap, and "Pest" because he is always moving Foudini from his favorite spot on the bed. Foudini also had an assigned dog Sam and the relationship they shared was so memorable it will bring you to tears first of joy and then sadness. I enjoyed this very interesting approach to storytelling tremendously. Each time I read a bit more, I was left with a smile on my face. This is a feel good book. Kelsana 1/11/02
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