‘Facts are everywhere ‘ the only way not to find them would be to walk around with your eyes and ears shut.’
Opening with the cataclysmic change for brothers Joshua and Jamie as newborn step-sister Jennie is brought into the world, ‘Cat Call’ expertly contrasts knowledge and understanding against fears and doubt. Stepping beyond mere sibling rivalry, childhood neurosis is depicted here with an astute accuracy, but also with compassion and perception.
Overt didacticism is skilfully avoided as through Joshua’s often laconic narration, Newbery carefully negotiates the feelings of brother Jamie, his jealousy of his sister and the manifestation this takes as he becomes horrified by the force and intensity of these internalised feelings.
An impressive depth of knowledge is presented into all things feline ‘ from factual information to mythology. The tectonics of familial relationships and alliances are related with extraordinary power and prowess. The success of ‘Cat Call’ is the genuine credence it affords to insecurity and its lithe ability in so doing to avoid the slightest patronising hue.