Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Crushingly sad and ridiculously silly
on 11 December 2000
I first heard about this book months before it was published - there was an article in The Guardian about how a young woman had taken her cat to travel around America after the death of her mother. Being a person who loves cats in all their contradictions, the idea fascinated me - so when I saw this book was out I had to read it. And I'm delighted to say that I was not disappointed. I found 'I and Claudius' startlingly original, painfully honest and at times, hilariously funny. Deeply introspective and sometimes almost embarrassingly honest, Clare describes her feelings about her life, her cat and her mother's death in a way in which you can't help but empathise. She is in a sense an anti-hero; there are times in the book where you don't particularly like her - when she appears vain and self-obsessed. However, as the pages unfolded I became quite fond of her, despite her flaws. She is human after all, like any of us - and the fact that she could reveal so much of herself and leave herself open to analysis and judgement by the reader, made me feel rather protective of her. Certainly her love for her cat is huge and the author uses her keen observational skills to combine tragedy and comedy with panache. Perhaps it was something to do with the fact that I was dying of flu at the time that I read the last half of the book, but I found myself in floods of tears at the imminent demise of her beloved feline companion. 'I and Claudius' is by turns spiritual and sordid, crushingly sad and ridiculously silly. If you this is just another travelogue, you've missed the point.