Saturday, 10 May 2014

I Was The Cat Review (Paul Tobin, Benjamin Dewey)

Allison Breaking is a character whose name is purely a pun so that writer Paul Tobin can name her blog, Breaking News. Sigh… that’s the level of creativity we’re dealing with here, people. 

So, Allison, a blogger, gets picked up to write a high profile autobiography of a wealthy mysterious figure called Burma because you know, bloggers get chosen over industry professionals all the time! Burma - you’ve guessed it - is the cat on the cover, and he’s lived for centuries and centuries and now wants to tell his story because he’s run down to the last of his nine lives. 

What can I say about this unoriginal piece of tripe? Well, it’s Tobin’s best since Plants Vs Zombies: Lawnmageddon, but that’s like saying vomiting is slightly better than diarrhea. I don’t know what it is this year with talking cat stories - Lynne Truss’ godawful Cat Out Of Hell came out recently - but so far, so terrible. 

What makes I Was The Cat so insufferable is how there’s a dual story going on with neither complementing the other and both being uninteresting. On the one hand you’ve got Allison getting used to there being a talking cat in existence (yawn) while Burma tells Allison his story. He inspired the cat worship culture of Egypt, he says. Cut to scenes in Ancient Egypt where, indeed, cats are being worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians. That’s it. He helped Napoleon in his military conquests, he says. Cut to scenes with Napoleon where Burma’s pointing to a map and saying “attack here”. That’s it. 

See, the point of showing is to avoid telling BUT if you’re going to tell something, then when you show it it’s got to be different or add to it in some way. Here, Burma telling Allison he helped Napoleon is sufficient - having a scene afterwards where we see Burma doing just that, and nothing else, is completely redundant. And that’s the whole book. 

I Was The Cat is unimaginative, unoriginal, and a complete waste of time. I packed it in halfway through - it’s amazing that this is the same writer who brought us the delightful Bandette which is a comic I’d highly recommend over this.

I Was the Cat

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