Book Review: Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book

Grumpy Cat:  A Grumpy Book:  Disgruntled Tips And Activities Designed To Put A Frown On Your Face, by Grumpy Cat

As most people are aware of, I am greatly fascinated by memes, and cat memes are no exception to this rule [1].  If there is one flaw this particular book has, it is that the book is not nearly ambitious enough with its material.  There is a lot to appreciate about Grumpy cat and her approach to life, although her memeworthy grumpiness appears to have been the result of a health condition and the putative author of the book has sadly died.  Still, if your standards are not high and you enjoy a great deal of humor related to being grumpy and sour and gloomy rather than feeling coerced into false cheeriness, this book does have at least that to commend itself with.  I found myself laughing and chuckling at least a few times to the book’s contents and if this book is not as good as it could have been it is certainly a brief and enjoyable read that gives predictably contrarian advice to people who are likely to view it ironically and appreciate it all the same.

As this book lacks a table of contents, it is not organized in a very obvious fashion.  Most of it consists of individual pages with meme photos celebrating grumpiness in all of its aspects or containing other text or games (including crossword puzzles and word searches) that correspond to the persona that Grumpy Cat has established.  Our favorite kitty curmudgeon spends this book complaining about how horrible it is to be in books, what makes one grumpy, how terrible it is to be around dogs, what she feels about people (nothing good, it should be noted), gives various demotivational advice about life, and even includes a bogus timeline.  There are even pictures which show the different faces of Grumpy Cat, from sullen to angry to gloomy to disgusted, all of which are suitably negative emotions, and there are even some connect the dots here as well.  This is a book that it is probably better to own than it is to get from the library as there is the expectation of writing or drawing in parts of it which does not work when one wants to leave the book unspoiled for future readers.

Perhaps someday scholars will wonder why it is that memes were so popular in our day and age and they will ponder why it is that we devoted so much time and so much attention to animals with silly captions.  Perhaps it will be useful for them to remember that communication is hard, and few generation struggled more unsuccessfully to understand others and to be understood than we did, and so it should be little surprise that pictures with suitably ironic or glaringly obvious captions would be an effective means for us to recognize that we were not alone in the world and that sometimes the struggles of life, including dealing with one’s emotional state, was something that could be made a bit lighter by being able to appreciate the humor that comes from cats (and other animals) with funny faces and text set by someone with a suitably warped sense of humor.  To be sure, other generations may have had more sophisticated skills in communicating such matters in a gracious fashion, but we have a great need to laugh about life and about its artifacts and few means that we can do so without feeling embittered by the experience.  At least we have memes as a way of expressing ourselves in a way that can still be understood by others.

[1] See, for example:


About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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