She'd cringe at the comparison, but Stacy Horn
is a real-life Bridget Jones. Except, of course, that Stacy's situation is worse: she's fortysomething, not thirtysomething, and already lives with two cats. What's even worse is that her cats--who aren't related, by the way--are both diabetic. She's having a midlife crisis, watches too much TV ("Look, I'm not saying it's ideal, but I would call watching TV a life"), and is obsessed with death:
I keep coming back to death the same way I can't stop touching a sore tooth with my tongue to see if it still hurts. Death. Still terrifying? Yes. How about now? Yes. And now? Yes.
She spends her days drumming with a samba group, pulling weeds in graveyards, praying to dead relatives, caring for her diabetic cats, crafting detailed fantasies, and running EchoNYC, the online community that she created. Why on earth would anyone want to read about that?
Because it's funny; sometimes, even laugh-out-loud-then-feel-sheepish-because-you're-on-the-bus funny. Stacy's shocked realization that she is in the unconscious habit of shouting out her cats' nicknames while she walks down the street ("Munches!" "Boo!" "Belly!") is worth the price of the book alone:
So it hit me: I am one of those crazy people who talks to herself on the street, one of the ones who makes you wonder where she came from and how she got to this sorry state. Great. How did I get to this sorry state, yelling to cats who are not there?
Waiting for My Cats to Die also can be heartbreaking, however, as in some of the brief interviews that she conducts with elderly people, or when she reveals her fears that she'll spend the rest of her life alone, or when one of her cats does indeed die. In the end, however, Stacy is hopeful, past her midlife crisis, and resolved that, in the absence of "one true love," she will "fall in love with everyone and everything a little." Tama Janowitz describes reading the book as being "like getting to hang out with a wonderful friend." We should all be so lucky to have friends as genuine, and funny, as Stacy Horn. --Sunny Delaney
From Publishers Weekly
Horn, a cyber-pioneer who launched Echo, a successful Gotham-based online community in the early '90s (and documented it in 1997's Cyberville), assembles haphazard thoughts on her samba drumming career, her diabetic cats, death and the single life, in this morbid but engagingly quirky memoir. Although she has no reason to believe that her own mortality is imminent (she's in her early 40s), Horn dives into the subject with all the zeal of a Baptist preacher. She discusses it online with peers and on the phone with elderly people, analyzes her cats' reactions to aging, and even explores the mystery of a ghost who supposedly haunts her apartment. That zeal is what holds this otherwise confused approach to understanding midlife together. In some chapters, Horn discusses particular aspects of her life and their deeper meaning, from what she presents as her hopelessly pudgy stomach to the fate of her business. In other sections--the book's tightest--she interviews senior citizens in an attempt to prove that wisdom comes with old age. However, what she finds through many of her conversations is that those who've lived a great deal of life often have no special secrets or knowledge to impart. The polls she conducts among Net-savvy New Yorkers on Echo add to her research and demonstrate that she's not alone in wistfully envying a 24-year-old's body. Although this work lacks focus and a clear thesis, it's a remarkably candid account of one woman's acceptance of aging, piqued with heartening moments of exhilaration.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.