Monday, October 7, 2013

Short Story Collection Review: Shakespeare for Cats by DE James

Today, as part of my month long theme of short and shortish stories, I am featuring Shakespeare for Cats.  I came across this on Amazon when I was scouting for freebees and thought I could use a little sophistication on my book shelf.  Plus, the little cat on the cover looked cute.  This book surprised me because when I got it, I didn't realize it was a collection of short stories.  Besides that, I found the way the stories tied together to be an interesting approach.

Shakespeare for Cats by DE James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute, quick, and amusing.

Shakespeare for Cats is made up of a bunch of short stories, featuring the furry, hoofed, feathered and even two legged denizens of an aging neighborhood.

The characters are each unique and well-developed, and though they may not try to be, they are humorous in their interactions and their life views. My favorite, and a great example, is Fav the opossum. He organizes a gang of house mice on raids, ambushes and intelligence missions, and even makes an attempt to bribe a guard parrot into looking the other way for a cut of the take.

The reference to Shakespeare in the title is reflected in the story with various quotes from and scenes reminiscent (although loosely) of various Shakespearean works. It's not a rehash of those works, however, just a lighthearted and amusing nod to them. A pair of elderly twins in the neighborhood who grew up in a family that appreciated Shakespeare provide the most quotes, though the tragic and dramatic exploits of Fav's mice minions provide their fair share of tongue in cheek references as well.

As for the organization of the book, some of the stories seem a bit disjointed and many end abruptly. However, each story features one of the characters from the last, which seems to be the thing connecting them all together. Took me a while to figure it out, but once I did, it made sense.

Overall, Shakespeare for Cats is a cute, humorous, and light read featuring a few amusing references to Shakespeare. I think those who would most enjoy this book are people who like to read quick and amusing short stories before bedtime. Those who enjoy stories featuring clever animal characters would probably also like this book.

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