A boy in New York City, a cat, family, some friends, and adventures. This novel won the Newbery Medal in 1964.
It’s Like This, Cat
Dave Mitchell, a fourteen-year-old boy living in Manhattan with his parents, adopts a stray cat he met in a friend’s apartment. Not even his angry father’s attitude can keep him from the joys of cat ownership. He names the creature “Cat.”
Dave lives in Manhattan in the 1960’s where he has a few friends and has the freedom to take public transportation to remote parks. This reminds me of my own teen years in the 1960’s when I took the AC Transit Buses all over the San Francisco Bay Area and my parents didn’t watch over me at all. It seems so strange now when parents are expected to be helicopter moms and dads or they’re in big trouble with social services. That was not a thing in the 1960’s as this novel clearly illustrates.
Although Dave’s parents allow him a lot of liberty, they do impose some rules and expect him to tell them where he’ll be and to be home at a certain hour. On one clandestine jaunt his parents didn’t know about, to Coney Island Beach, he meets a girl whose parents have no rules at all. Thus, the issue of parenting rules is one of the themes of this novel.
Dave tends to argue with his father. His father, an attorney, argues with him. I think the issues are mutual. Throughout the book Dave observes other young people and their relationships with their parents. Also an elderly neighbor has no relationship with a family at all. Dave has a lot to learn about appreciating those who love him.
I found the interactions between Dave and Cat to be heartwarming. He takes responsibility for this creature without hesitation, whatever the needs are. I also enjoyed reading about his teenage life living in Manhattan, visiting local parks with his friends and meeting new people as time goes on.
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