Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review ~ My Cat Spit McGee by Willie Morris

When renowned southern writer Willie Morris passed away in 1999, he left behind a wife and son. His cat, Spit McGee, was never mentioned. Spit was an integral part of Morris's life. Willie actually brought Spit into this world as a tiny sick kitten, and demanded that he "live, kid, live!". When Spit was born, he was trapped inside the amniotic sac. With the help of a veterinarian over the phone, Willie Morris, acclaimed "Cat Hater", brought tiny Spit into the world. Spit McGee (Spitty, as Morris often refers to him) who was named after a mischievous character in one of Morris's children's books, became one of the most important aspects in his life.

Prior to this, Morris had no use for cats. It was when he met his second wife JoAnne (a.k.a. Cat Woman) that all of that changed. Her love for cats carried over to Morris, much to his chagrin. Although it was hard for him to admit at first, later on in the book he constantly professes his love for his cats; Mamie Harper, a stray that they found that responded to whistling; Bessie Graham, one of Mamie's kittens, a tortoise with a little orange face; and his Spit McGee, a solid white cat with a tiny pink nose and two different colored gold, one blue. His Spitty, who loved to curl up on Morris's pillow at night while he slept and loved to go for car rides and walk on his leash, who curled up on Morris's desk amongst the papers while he was working. And finally sitting with Morris down by Purple Crane Creek in their favorite spot:
~I stroked him on his back, once again he snuggled into my lap. "I love you, Spitty," I said. He extended his paw toward me. ~

~Here is a translucent moment: a penetratingly cold winter's night, a staunch fire in the fireplace, and the cats and the Cat Woman comfortably ensconced in the den with me. A nut cake is baking in the oven, the fine wholesome aroma of it wafting through the house, and Spit, Mamie, and Bessie are curled together in a furry bundle in front of the fire. The whole world is closed out in this moment. This is my favorite family, and I would die for them.~ pg. 137

My thoughts: Never in my life have I ever read a book that I have enjoyed more than this one. I had never even heard of Willie Morris until I came across this book while browsing online. I actually found one of his quotes about "Southern Writers" that I liked enough to post on my sidebar, before I realized this was THE Willie of Spit McGee AND My Dog which also has my all-time favorite quote from that book, which is posted in my side bar as well. Carol from The Writer's Porch also brought to my attention that he was from Mississippi (as is she)...and I just kept hearing more and more good things about this man. This was my first read by Morris, but it certainly will not be my last. His writing flows and has almost a "musical" quality to is simply beautiful. This book had me laughing out loud, sighing in content, and smiling at Morris's antics with his furry companions that he had grown to love so much.

If you are a cat lover (or even if you aren't) I think that you would love this is as unique as the author and cats are themselves. This is a treasure that I will be keeping on my bookshelf.

Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (November 14, 2000)
ISBN-13: 978-0375706936


Nise' said...

Great review! Going to put this one on my TBR list. I loved My Dog Skip.

Sunny Sweet Pea said...

This book sounds lovely!!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Be sure and read his "My Mississippi" !

Jenny Girl said...

Great review! Sounds like a heart warming read.

____Maggie said...

Wow! I think you like Willie Morris! ;) Yes, he is a Mississippian! We were thinking about another literary institute like the 4Ws where we study the Two Willies: William Faulkner and Willie Morris!

Here is the 4Ws blog...


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