This story is not really about a cat. It is about navigating grief. A lonely mother, isolated from friends and family, is devastated by the loss of her only -and very much cherished- son when he is accidentally hit by a car. On the roadside in front of her house, no less. She locks herself up, refusing visitors, turning off her phone and closing email, in effort to deaden the pain. She wants to end her own life, but realizes (with horror at first) that she cannot abandon the cat her son loved- she must stay to take care of it. The story follows her thoughts and memories through numbness, pain, anger, resentment, guilt and finally to an outlook of possible hope and recovery. It took a little while for me to realize she was not only avoiding people because of her pain and anger- her whole life had been spent feeling mostly alone, shamed by the birthmark on her face. Through the pages you learn about a painful childhood, an only friend lost long ago, a few college lovers whom she felt betrayed by, a complicated mix of family she mostly avoids. But finally she reconnects to a few people and realizes they still do care for her, after all the years apart. For a relatively short book, it's very intense.