Waiting for My Cats to Die: A Memoir

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9780312287443: Waiting for My Cats to Die: A Memoir
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When Stacy Horn--single, deeply addicted to television, and hopelessly attached to two diabetic cats--turned forty, she free-falled into a mid-life crisis. Waiting for My Cats to Die is a passionately and profoundly honest look at what happens the moment you realize--beyond a shadow of a doubt--that some day the credits will roll on your life. There are all those things you haven't done yet. There are all those things you have and wish you hadn't. In the battle against time, a frontal attack is the best strategy. Horn explores abandoned cemeteries and descends into crypts. She researches long-lost relatives, interviews the elderly, and learns all she can about the ghost haunting her apartment. No sign indicating the downward pull of things goes unnoticed. And yet life, with so much to celebrate, is irresistible. Here is a wonderful, quirky, refreshing memoir of hilarity and heartache: life at the mid-point of life.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Stacy Horn is the founder of ECHO, a New York-based online community, and author of Cyberville.

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