On my mother's side of the family, I come from a line of storytellers. My grandmother's stories ranged from my grandfather's arrest for draft resistance in England during World War I, the uncertainty of life during the Troubles in Ireland, to the day she decided to leave her marriage (but didn't). My mother's stories described a rural childhood that to a child of a suburb of little boxes seemed idyllic.
Both of them encouraged me to read and provided me with books to feed a growing habit. When I was seven or eight, I discovered mythology, and the gods and goddesses in those tales were as real to me as the dragons and cats in my own stories are now. Thanks to my early training in fantasy, I like to hang out with dragons. Accepting the bizarre directions my imagination takes has allowed me to conjure up Zen cats, cougars, gossip-vending hawks, and other critters.
Currently I live in upstate New York on a wooded piece of land not unlike some of the terrain in Big Dragons Don't Cry.
Since 2000 I've belonged to the online writers' group, Artistic License, subtitled Shameless Blameless Hussies. They've read all my books, but don't blame them if you find errors, because they're shameless.
I also paint, and the art on my book cover is one of my watercolors.
M L Sawyer
on April 15, 2011 :
This novel is not primarily about Dragons and the main narrative is actually through the eyes of the cats. Tara, is the chosen one, a small kitten born in ‘the green’ a fabled place that city cats dream about and is part of their prophesized destiny. Along with Tara you have Phileas the water dragon alone in the swamp that he must protect and Serazina, the human girl who is afraid of her emotional and mental gift being discovered in a society that prizes only ‘the mind’.
Throughout the three main tales, C. M Barrett portrays a definite sense of humans destroying the earth and how the animals are trying to bring back the balance. Should the humans fail, in the end of the quest, they will be destroyed. I get the sense that she has spent a lot of time around cats as she is able to clearly capture their idiosyncrasies with well written description and interaction.
Where I felt this story fell a little short was in approximately the third quarter of the novel where the main moral of the story (I presume save the planet) continued perhaps a little too much.
Despite that, the story was well written and I found no editing issues. It is a recommended read for people who have nothing against cats and even then it’s okay (I’m a dog person). A few parts of the story line came out of the left field but as a reader, that’s not a bad thing as it is very difficult to be unique.
(reviewed 38 days after purchase)
Charlotte E. English
on March 25, 2011 :
The title of this book is mildly misleading. I expected a very humorous book, and it does have humour; but it also has a more serious & occasionally tense storyline. The book is constructed around three interwoven narratives. One is the story of Druid, a depressed water dragon left alone in the swamps without the company of any other dragons. The second is the story of a group of cats, principally Tara, destined to save the world - even though she is only a pint-sized kitten. The third is the human angle, following a feeling young woman and her artistic lover through the difficulties of a rather deranged, emotion-suppressing society.
The agenda of the story is clear: it makes some salient points about the destructiveness of human societies and the need to change our way of thinking. Some books could become leaden with such a heavy core message, and this one does come a little close to belabouring this point. However, it is written with a light, entertaining style and leavened with sufficient humour to avoid this.
The characters are engaging and largely loveable, and I liked the resolution to the story. I'd have liked to hear more about the final fate of characters such as Phileas - is he allowed to marry and have a normal life now? - and Serazina & Berto. However, perhaps this is coming up in a sequel!
This book also stands out from the crowd in the quality of the writing, editing and proofreading. I will recommend it to others & hope a sequel emerges fairly soon.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)