Manfried the Man

Kelly Bastow (illus.). Quirk. May 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781683690153. pap. $14.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
This work offers a unique premise: What if cats were humanlike, and cats, as they are now, were replaced by humans? Steve Catson is having a difficult time doing, well, anything. Somewhat of a shiftless layabout who only takes pleasure in his human pet, Manfried, Steve finally is pushed to be more when Manfried unexpectedly gets out of the house. Writer Major (Home Sick; Peach Plum Pear) is often hilarious, while artist Bastow (The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy; Lumberjanes) simply but clearly shows a world that's so absurd yet doesn't seem all that far-fetched. While the book is a little too long, it is effective in demonstrating the bond between caretaker and pet. Manfried's "Hey!" is the equivalent of "meow," and the communications between Manfried and Steve, including hugs, is relatable to every cat owner. Both are put in situations they are uncomfortable with, and that growth and resilience only amplifies their bond.
VERDICT A delightful twist on the human/cat relationship. For fans of felines, stories of discovery, and the film Homeward Bound.
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