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Submitted Literature

The Therapist's Cat

By Stephanie Sorrell

Review

Drawing upon her experience as a psychosynthetic therapist, Stephanie Sorrell creates a charming novel that explores themes such as spiritual transcendence and awareness, human-animal relationships, and indeed humanity's propensity for mistreating other creatures - all set against the backdrop of the life of a protagonist with bipolar disorder, working as a psychotherapist.

When his girlfriend, Emmie, brings home a cat at random, Peter Shepherd is initially horrified. As his relationship with his Emmie passively disintegrates, however, his connection with Moo the cat becomes deeper...

Upon learning that he can directly communicate with Moo, Pete finds himself on a journey towards "the Portal" - a place of perfect enlightenment and peace, where all the creatures of our world are equal. Moo educates Pete on how to access this sacred place - but has an underlying reason for doing so. She highlights to him the plight of the animal race at the hands of humanity, and teaches him the measures he can take and promote to defend those with “The Fur” (humanity's biggest flaw being, according to Moo, its lack of fur).

Moo also starkly advises Pete that our race is being watched from within by – and already being affected by – another species, its initial purpose similar to her's. But without human redemption, might its focus morph into one of revenge? Is their hope left for humanity?

It's a cleverly constructed tale. On the face of it, it's 'just' an entertaining, often amusing story of a therapist, his cat, their bizarre relationship and eventually the chronicles of a 'boy-meets-girl'. Yet it serves ably as a moral not just to Pete, but to us – the whole of the human race.

We are invited to consider whether, in the lives of many of us as rat-racers, in our need to satisfy so many external aspects of our lives - have we forgotten how to just be? Can't we be comfortable within our own minds, and allow ourselves the simplicity of time devoted to the self?

Further, where does humanity's superiority complex come from, and why is it just? Cats in the real world don't speak like Moo does to Pete – but I defy you to watch one and claim that it doesn't have a soul, one rife with the ability to speak in ways we don't (and can't). Isn't it time, the book quite reasonably asks, that we recognise animals for the intelligent, feeling beings that they are, and treat them accordingly?

The Therapist's Cat weaves themes into it that eclipse genres. Sorrell employs her experience as a therapist in not just Pete's interactions with his clients, but in the story as a whole, and has thus used her first novel to explore some of the most quietly important issues facing humanity in the 21st century. Lest anyone be put off by the depth of the book, though, it is also in many ways 'just' a heart-warming, funny story – a layered, multi-faceted novel. Whatever you take from it, you're going to enjoy it.

Key Themes:

  • Animals
  • Creativity and Madness
  • Fiction
  • Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Novel

Significant Quotes / Pages

p. 19 One of the things I discovered in my training to be a psychotherapist was that you can only go as deep with your clients as you have been yourself. If a therapist hasn't navigated the depths themselves they cannot 'hold' their client in the way they need to be held.

p. 31 ...as always, imprisoned by our personality, we could never really be truly free.

p. 34 Moo believed that the fundamental root of human problems was simply being without fur.

p. 82 Things that you'd held back and want to say slipped out last minute, always at the end of a [therapy] session.

p. 101 As you have your work, I have my work, and my work is often dangerous, but also of the utmost importance and it takes all my energy. -The Gospel of Moo

p. 105 "What hope is there?" I asked in exasperation. / "The hope is in people like you, Pete," came the swift response.

p. 106 The violence that humans have inflicted on the animal kingdom will return to them through the Nasym. Or rather, is returning to through the human children coming into incarnation. -The Gospel of Moo

p. 138 A cat's first priority is to guard their human kind. Humans, because of their chosen ignorance, aren't able to protect themselves psychically against intrusion.

p. 179 A sight such as I had never imagined, not even in my wildest dreams. Yet it was enough to stop the heart...and I knew that I had, at long last, entered the Portal.

Reference: Stephanie, Sorrell. 27 January 2012. The Therapist's Cat. Soul Rocks Books, Kindle Edition

Reviewer

Ms Karen Bester
Date Review Submitted: Friday 29th June 2012