A Helping Paw by Allan Gilmour is an interesting twist on a self-help or best-life novel. Gilmour uses his two feline companions, Mr. Fred Midnight and Sir George Francis Winston, to give input on decisions and their outcomes for all "humans." Gilmour starts each chapter with a quirky description of where the two felines are currently hanging out and what they are doing there. Then, Midnight and Winston soon turn their current situation into a speculation on human behavior - with reasoning behind decisions and the outcomes they garner.
Examples of Midnight and Winston's musings include being a gentleman, overusing electronic devices, how your actions (even not doing something) can lead to an unwanted reality, and how to truly be yourself. These musing are enlightening but also entertaining as they are taken from the eyes and minds of cats - who probably think humans are entirely silly most of the time anyway!
As a feline lover myself, the idea of this book struck my fancy! It is amusing to me to look at "normal" behaviors or actions of humans through the eyes of a creature that wouldn't understand them. How quickly such behaviors seem trivial or even a waste of time. Allan Gilmour uses his two feline companions to show the reader how such actions can have consequences on not only your daily life, but also your physical, mental, and emotional health. He stresses the importance of remaining true to yourself and not allowing yourself to be drawn in by what is new or flashy.
Overall, this book offers good lessons for anyone, not just cat lovers! Teenagers or adults, both male and female, will find a great piece of advice among these pages.
Allan Gilmour’s quaint read, A Helping Paw, follows the musings, revelations, advice, and general conversations shared between two house cats on life and ways to succeed and flourish therein. Through a dialogue-format prose and the somewhat silly yet altogether believable premise of two cats contemplating life’s mysteries, this one hundred and twenty-three page novel will appeal to feline fanatics and meditative self-help book enthusiasts alike.
The format of this book is unique and perhaps unexpected, yet fits the conversational plot well. Rather than following a standard novel narrative, Gilmour depicts the scenarios and thoughts of each cat in corresponding quotes in a way that feels similar to reading a transcribed interview or listening in on a phone conversation. Regardless, this technique renders a fast-paced and easily digestible book due to its straightforward and consistently styled prose.
While it may initially seem absurd, the statements and observations of both cats ultimately feel wise, thought-provoking, and genuinely likely. Many consider what their pets may be thinking throughout the day. Through A Helping Paw, Gilmour attempts to answer this. Despite purely consisting of different conversations between the same two house cats, this fact doesn’t feel childish or silly and quickly shifts to believable. It is easy to imagine the characters within the book tangibly discussing life, humanity, and being cats, while also evoking recollections or experiences of observing one’s own pet. The author has mixed little moments of silliness relating to the cat perspective with more universally-relatable topics such as love, morality, self-identity, and temptation. This helps the book to feel casual and light. It’s funny without sacrificing shrewd life observations and judgements applicable to humanity. In fact, in terms of conversation style, character personality and expression, and this book’s general atmosphere, fans of Don Marquis’ Archy and Mehitabel will likely enjoy Gilmour’s A Helping Paw due to evident parallels between the two.
Some may read this book and focus on its unique and amusing nature. Others may put more of an emphasis on the grounded, philosophical debates and advice residing within. Either way, A Helping Paw will likely introduce itself to readers by bringing a smile to the lips and a few chuckles to the throat while concluding with a few realizations to the mind and a fresh outlook on life. All in all, this is an entertaining read of charmingly depicted sagacity perfect for cat-lovers of all ages.
Reviewed by Amy Raines for Readers' Favorite
A Helping Paw: Modern Day Life Observed Through the Eyes of Two Cats and an Englishman by Allan Gilmour shares a unique view of the world. Mr. Midnight and Sir Winston discuss many interesting concepts that most humans shy away from or avoid altogether, including the idea of freedom. The two cats and their owner, ‘Daddy,’ talk about different topics from favorite places to rest, to politics and religion, and several confusing human behaviors. Sir Winston and Mr. Midnight sometimes get confused over certain ideas and behaviors and together they attempt to find a natural peace in understanding the things they find strange. This amusing story gives a greater concept of how everyone is unique and individual with their own way of thinking, and that includes smart and entertaining cats like Mr. Midnight and Sir Winston.
I loved A Helping Paw by Allan Gilmour; it is absolutely adorable and insightful. The plot is very interesting as the cats go through several conversations trying to understand more about human behaviors and ideas they perceive to be strange. The characters of Mr. Midnight, Sir Winston and Daddy have very different ways of looking at things, which makes their unique perspective stand out. Although some of the subjects Gilmour addresses in A Helping Paw can easily become heated arguments, the way he uses conversations with cats makes these topics a lot more fun and meaningful. I recommend A Helping Paw to anyone who likes to read and discover new ways of looking at the world through someone else’s eyes.
A Helping Paw – Modern day life observed through the eyes of two cats and an Englishman
Follow Allan Gilmour’s two heroic cats on their quest to encourage human beings to have a good and honest look at their own life.
Mr Midnight and Sir Winston are protagonists of a very special kind. They are cats. After all, the Egypts used to worship these creatures with their quite own, dignified behaviour. And the cats have not forgotten. Mr Midnight and Sir Winston, however, are rather nice cats and not very aloof. They are often puzzled by the human race and people’s actions. They are both unable of knowing everything about the human world, but through intense observations, Mr Midnight and Sir Winston thought it would be wise to lend a helping paw to try and put a modern individual back on track. The two charming cats thus attempt to open the eyes of the modern individual to the important things in life; namely, to not take oneself too seriously and to truly enjoy what life has to offer.
The message of “A Helping Paw” by Allan Gilmour is quite clear: Our modern, hectic lifestyles have helped create dissatisfaction, illness and disassociation with our true selves. By following the two heroic cats on their quest to help humans return to their true selves, the readers are encouraged to have a good and honest look at their own life and their own attitudes towards the world. They are inspired to ask themselves what they truly care about and whether they pay enough attention to it. It is a truly inspiring story that will move people to make a change, but at the same time it’s also simply an entertaining animal story with more than one charming anecdote that cat lovers will recognize.