|Gwen and Homer. Image courtesy of www.gwencooper.com.
You know how when you're reading a really good book, you will find any excuse to sneak away and read endlessly for hours? Reading a book during TV commercials, reading in between class breaks, sneaking away to your room during dinner. Those are just a few of the things I did to read Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper.
I’m excited to offer a giveaway of Love Saves the Day, autographed by Gwen Cooper! Details will be listed below the review! Links to Gwen's website and purchasing her books will be below.
|Image courtesy of www.gwencooper.com.
Love Saves the Day is an amazing story about Prudence the cat. One day, Prudence's owner Sarah doesn't come home. Prudence goes to live with Sarah's daughter, Laura and her husband Josh. Prudence doesn't understand why Sarah left her and hopes she will come get her soon. This is a tale of love, hope and how animals help you heal.
The book is broken up into three parts, from the viewpoints of the kitty Prudence, daughter Laura and the mother, Sarah. I love books that are told in different perspectives because it gives the reader more than one way to look at the story being told.
I especially love the fact that the majority of the book was narrated by the kitty, Prudence. Gwen really captivated how cats "think" and act. For example, Prudence is taken to the Bad Place, which the reader can immediately identify as the vet's office.
Many things Prudence said had me grinning and thinking of my own cats.
-"I fix him with an icy stare and swish my tail to remind him of his manners."
-"I think Laura's trying to trick me into not noticing, so that one day soon she can put down just the new food and none of the food I like. As if that would fool a cat!"
-"I learned that water that's been standing still for a long time usually tastes bad. Now I like to rattle my water bowl with my right paw before I drink from it, so I can see the water move and keep it tasting fresh. Sarah understood this and only filled my water bowl up halfway."
After Prudence said the thing about the water, I started to wonder if my cats thought that way! I asked my mom - she had just read Gwen's book - and she agreed, wondering the same thing.
After reading Love Saves the Day, it is evident that Gwen did a lot of research on the "Mitchell-Lama" buildings that a portion of the book is about. The events that happen in chapter 13 (I would love to write a summary but I don't want to give any good plot details away!) "are a fictional creation and not intended to accurately depict real events" as Gwen states in the Author's Note.
I wondered how Gwen knew about Mitchell-Lama buildings and the history of the building mentioned in the book. It turns out that Gwen’s husband Laurence moved into a Mitchell-Lama building when he first moved to New York, 25 years ago.
“Honestly, New York is such a crazy, crazy market for real estate (with such insanely high rents) that you always have a general awareness of people you know who've lucked into great deals, like something that's rent controlled or an apartment, like a Mitchell-Lama apartment, that participates in a City program to maintain affordable rents for middle-class tenants. Once I decided to work the program into the book, I did some research and also spoke with attorneys who specialize in both assisting tenants who live in Mitchell-Lama buildings and who represent developers that want to buy the buildings and opt out of the program,” she said.
I kept up to date on Gwen’s Facebook fan page for Love Saves the Day (which you can find here) and I knew that just three weeks before her deadline, she changed a massive portion of her book.
It turns out that Gwen tossed out 80% of her book – which had taken her two years to write.
(Reader Note: Before you read on, there will be a little plot detailed here that might give away parts of the story, so please read at your own risk).
“In a nutshell, I felt that I was over-plotting Prudence. Originally I had a storyline that had her much more actively searching for Sarah. The problem was that to translate that search into action had me writing behaviors for her that weren't really cat-like. For a book like this to work, readers have to really believe that they're inside a cat's mind--and I felt that if I as the author didn't believe what I was writing, readers wouldn't either,” Gwen explains.
Gwen went on to explain that ultimately, Prudence has three "jobs" in the book:
1) To be adorable and funny and "catty;"
2) To narrate the human action and the day-to-day lives of the other characters in the book
3) To heal over the course of the book from her loss of Sarah as she gradually bonds with Laura and Josh and comes to consider them her family.
After getting rid of 80% of the book, Gwen was excited that once she took Prudence out of her own head a bit, all these wonderful opportunities opened up for ways in which Prudence could engage the human characters.
For those who have read Love Saves the Day, it’s needless to say that the changes Gwen made to the book ultimately changed it for the better. This is an amazing story that will help heal anyone with a broken heart, or just likes cats!
I am so glad that my mom had picked up Homer’s Odyssey that one fateful day in Barnes and Noble, otherwise I might not be here reviewing Love Saves the Day!
Gwen will delight readers with her new book, as it is really an inspirational story.
I asked Gwen if she had a new book in the works and this is what she said:
Me: And just to give the readers of the review a sneak peak, do you have any plans for another book soon! (ok, that question was for me too :-P!)
Gwen: I do have plans to write another book, but nothing concrete enough to talk about yet. Once the craziness of the tour dies down, I'll get back to you! :)
I leave my readers with one final thought from Gwen, which I will take to heart with the rest of my writings:
“It pays to remember as a writer that sometimes the most important part of writing is knowing when and what to ‘unwrite’”.
To visit Gwen Cooper: www.gwencooper.com
Receiving a complimentary copy of the book did not influence my review or my opinions.