She and Her Cat: Stories

Atria. Nov. 2022. 144p. tr. from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori. ISBN 9781982165741. $24. F
Originally published in Japan in 2013, this work by director, writer, producer, and animator Shinkai apparently began as a short film he created in 1999. Later adapted into a short anime series in 2016, his book has now been translated into English for U.S. audiences. Comprising four loosely interconnected short stories, it introduces readers to the cats Chobi, Mimi, Kink Tail, Kuro, and Cookie and a dog named John. The pets each narrate their own stories, which are interspersed with the tales told by “owners” Miyu, Reina, Aoi, and Shino. What results are heartfelt anthropomorphic accounts of the life experiences of these animals, which range from homelessness, rejection, motherhood, and loss to their friendships with one another and with humans. The accounts from the human characters are equally touching but on a slightly lesser scale as greater part of the storytelling come from the animals.
VERDICT Reminiscent of the animated film The Secret Life of Pets, this work may be short, but it’s a surprisingly engrossing and entertaining light read. Readers looking for a quick and overall uplifting work should consider picking up this title, and it’s sure to be appreciated by pet lovers all around.
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