Book Reviews

The Fur Person by May Sarton | Book Review

The Fur Person by May Sarton | Book Review The Fur Person by May Sarton
Genres: American Literature, Animals, Fiction, Memoir
Original Publication Date: 1957
Source: I purchased this book
Find the Author: Website, Goodreads, Amazon

In The Fur Person, May Sarton fictionalizes an account of her cat Tom Jones’s life and adventures prior to making the author’s acquaintance begins with a fiercely independent, nameless street cat who follows the ten commandments of the Gentleman Cat—including “A Gentleman Cat allows no constraint of his person, not even loving constraint.” But after several years of roaming, Tom has grown tired of his vagabond lifestyle, and he concludes that there might be some appeal after all in giving up the freedom of street life for a loving home. It will take just the right human companion, however, to make his transformation from Cat About Town to genuine Fur Person possible.

The Fur Person Is Delightful

The Fur Person is May Sarton’s account of her cat’s life around the time they met.

Tom Jones was a cat about town. He was living the difficult life of a stray cat.

Tom decides that it might be time to settle down:

When he was about two years old, and had been a Cat About Town for some time, glorious in conquests, but rather too thin for comfort, the Fur Person decided that it was time he settled down. This question of finding a permanent home and staff was not one to be approached lightly . . .

Cat About Town Decides To Give Up His Independence

Tom Jones does not really relish giving up his independence. One day he happens upon two nice older women who share a house – the sort of house he really likes.

The two ladies give him some delicious haddock, which he thoroughly enjoys.

The two ladies are very careful to give Tom Jones time to get used to them.

He likes that they do not shower him with too much attention: Tom is not quite ready for that:

The most remarkable thing about the two kind ladies was that they left him to eat in peace and did not say one word. They had the tact to withdraw into the next room and to talk about other things, and leave him entirely to himself.

Tom Jones gradually becomes part of the family but still tries -at least for a while – to pretend that he is really independent. The feisty cat eventually comes to realize that companionship and affection are really rather wonderful.

For a Fur Person is a cat whom human beings love in the right way, allowing him to keep his dignity, his reserve and his freedom. And a Fur Person is a cat who has come to love one, or in very exceptional cases, two human beings, and who has decided to stay with them as long as he lives.

Final Analysis

I really enjoy this little book. You feel as if you are seeing the world through Tom’s eyes.

I highly recommended it to everyone no matter what age you are.

If you love cats, you will enjoy this little book.

I also reviewed May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude.

I have also reviewed other books about cats: Homer’s Odyssey, Love Saves The Day, and Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.

The Harvard Crimson wrote an essay about this book: Sarton; ‘The Fur Person’ Explores Cats and People.

You can also check out these posts on my other blog:

Van Vleck House & Gardens | Montclair, New Jersey

Glenmont – Thomas Edison’s Home | West Orange, New Jersey

Zenas Crane Homestead | West Caldwell, New Jersey

Kingsland Manor | Nutley, New Jersey

Evergreens | Montclair, New Jersey

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About May Sarton

May Sarton (1912-1995), was an American poet, novelist, and memoirist.

I love books, writing, film, and television.

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