BOOKS: The Craggy Hole In My Heart & The Cat Who Fixed It
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:
The Craggy Hole In My Heart & The Cat Who Fixed It
(Over the edge and back with my dad, my cat, and me)
by Geneen Roth
Harmony Books (Harmony Books, 231 Broad St., Nevada City, CA
95959), 2004. 238 pages, hardcover. $21.00.
“Although not every present-day pattern in our lives can be
traced back to our childhoods, the imprint for love–who and how we
love, and what we recognize as love –can,” says self-help writer
“To some people love means being left, being anxious, being
constantly on the edge, and this pattern plays out with frustrating
consistency throughout their relationships. To others love means
being wanted, being seen, being cherished–and their relationships
reflect exactly that.
“Our earliest experiences of being known or ignored, being
held or left alone, being welcomed or criticized, being told we
were too much or not enough, create the architecture for love in our
nervous systems and limbic brains and effects us for the rest of our
These insights are scarcely unique. Roth herself has been
offering them in books and lectures for more than 25 years, telling
and retelling her own story as a sort of Everywoman exemplary
fable–but her focus has shifted with the times. In this latest
retelling, Roth asserts that she came to understand the psychology
underlying her formerly neurotic eating habits, and her long-time
obsessive relationship with her father, through the unconditional
love of her companion cat.
Blanche the cat chose Roth, not the other way around, and
in this version of Roth’s autobiography appears to have chosen Roth’s
career for her, too.
Roth credits Blanche with enabling her to search deep within
herself and eventually to sort out her insecurity, her intense fear
of commitment, and her perceived inability to maintain a
Blanche always seemed to know exactly what to do and when.
Cats are an object lesson in the Zen goal of living for the moment,
Roth observes, with the ability to make people just be themselves.
This, Roth believes, is the best therapy.