This book is about a man who learns not only to heal from the wounds of his past, but also learns to love his wife's cats, and how they also heal and reach out to his autistic son. Not long ago, I had the rare privilege of reading “furry paw middle claw: a novel” by Barry Jackson. This was an unexpectedly powerful and heartwarming book based on the life of Mr. Jackson told in a fictional way. In this book, he introduces us to dean parker; a young man who endures not only physical abuse, but a mother who blatantly tells him that she never wanted him to begin with. He survives this abusive and dysfunctional childhood, and ultimately escapes his family and everyone he knows from down south in Virginia. He finds solace and seeming safety as a successful business person in Manhattan, NYC. While living in the city, he meets a beautiful and compassionate woman named Melissa. Melissa is also a survivor of an abusive dysfunctional home, and she deals with her past by being an animal rescuer, in particular rescuing cats. The two develop a loving relationship; in which dean is introduced to her four cats. These four cats find him to be an interesting intruder concerning their human, while dean who initially expresses an indifference to dislike of them, because to him they are against his idea of solace and order. He is also afraid and uncertain as to how to act around them, due to his own troubled childhood. He and Melissa ultimately marry, thus going a step further to fulfilling his own need for love and family. While Melissa rescues ferals, and wounded felines, he also learns to appreciate the work that Melissa does with rescuing these creatures, and helps in this endeavor. In the end he learns to love Melissa even more for her generous heart.
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During this dean and four cats in particular, slowly but surely get to know each other. One cat in particular, does everything possible to get dean's attention, including sit by him furry paw with middle claw extended, wherever he is at! The cats in turn each impart valuable life lessons to him, and over the course of his and Melissa's relationship, his indifference/dislike is replaced with that of admiration and growing to love each cat, and the cats come to accept and love him as well. During their marriage, they have a wonderful son named Greg, but their happiness is almost short lived, when they learn at the age of 2 that he is autistic. Melissa and dean struggle with not only trying to help their son, but also the negative stigma placed on them and their poor child over this. It is during this point, when it seems that Greg has completely shut down from the world, which one of the cats, named dash, begins to bond with the boy, and begins to break down the veil that seemed to overcome their child. It is then that dean realizes that these cats have not only rescued him from his past, but that they have been instrumental in bringing his son the healing he so badly needed.
Best part of story, including ending:
I lived it because I can relate to Dean and his struggles with his past. I also can see the similarities between him and my hubby when my cat Rocket and I moved in with him, and throughout our marriage.
Best scene in story:
I really rejoiced over how Dean and Melissa discover how Dah is reaching out to their son.