“Rover the Cat: An Adventure in Second Chances” is all about a healthy male dog named Rover who unexpectedly dies, and is reincarnated as a female kitten: One who doesn’t stand a chance from the word ‘go’. Rover a.k.a “Guppy” goes through a succession of permanent and temporary owners, never getting to stay long with the nice ones before the sadistic ones get their hands on her again.
It’s gritty and real and never pulls punches on the violence to humans and animals alike. (It also contains the most succinct description of how one feels after waking up from major surgery I’ve ever read – “dropped from an airplane and immediately trampled by elephants”).
I read “Rover the Cat: An Adventure in Second Chances” in one go, unable to put it down. The cover art led me to expect it would be either a kid’s adventure story or a quaint fantasy. The truth is, it bore about as much resemblance to gentle kids’ books or quaint fantasies as the final three Harry Potter books. Instead of Dementors, we have Derangers: And the non-stop parade of human and animal villains in “Rover the Cat” proved to be far more harrowing and realistic that any snake wizard could ever be.
Since it does realistically portray ignorant low-lifes, it contains coarse language and stark violence, some of it domestic. It also speaks about powerlessness on the part of children and animals at the mercy of people less thank kind or honest. But it is a riveting and ultimately uplifting story, and Rover himself — the story is told in first person — has a strong, likable voice.
Rover a.k.a. Guppy makes true friends along the way, and in the end, gets the resolution she craves for — though, being Volume 1, it is worth noting that it seems to promise a series of further adventures for Rover.