Woe: A Housecat's Story of Despair

Lucy Knisley, author of the Peapod Farm series, introduced the world to her persnickety feline friend, Linney, through online comics. In the sweet and silly young adult comic collection Woe, old and new illustrated stories have been compiled, turning Linney from an Internet phenom to a book super-star. Knisley shares tales with which many cat lovers will identify, while non-cat-savvy readers should also find plenty to enjoy in this ode to a cantankerous pet.

Knisley explains her somewhat abstract depiction of Linney in the introduction, saying "it's much better to try to draw [a cat's] personality, rather than an accurate visual representation." Linney's "apricot-hued" personality exudes disdain, apathy, sass, imperiousness, and plenty of drama. She places herself squarely between the human and their book, knocks a glass of water on an unsuspecting head, and weaves around human feet as they try to walk. And when Linney does receive the attention she claims to want, she dashes away to hide, demanding to be left alone. It's the kind of humor that seems madcap to the uninitiated but is familiar territory to cat owners.

Knisley's narration of Linney's thoughts adds to the whimsy of the collection. She is nonchalant about all her fans, proud of her sock-hunting ability, and a martyr when a human forces her into the cat carrier: "Noooo! I am innocent! A blameless angel, falsely imprisoned for crimes committed by another!" Nestled amidst the hilarity of cat antics is the emotional connection people have with their finicky little fur balls. Knisley's love for Linney is heartwarming and will likely have her fellow felinophiles snuggling their own kitties. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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