The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

Although I read this a couple of months ago, it has stayed with me. The Underneath is so beautifully written, how can it not stay with you? On the surface it is the story of a mother cat, her two kittens, and an old (abused) hound dog who is chained up to a porch in a Louisiana bayou. But it’s also about a mythical snake creature, a family of Native Americans living over a century ago, and the cruel man who is the undeserving owner of the hound.

The “underneath” is the space below the porch, the safe place the mother cat finds to raise her two kittens. Only one curious, adventurous kitten sets into a motion a heart-wrenching story of (a whole bunch of sad stuff) (but ultimately) (redeeming) love.

It’s another one of those books that makes me “feel.” And you know how I feel about those. Highest compliments and praise to the author, but then I need to read some blood-sucking vampire action (with a good dose of either humor or melodrama – both is best) to reaffirm my hope in the world. Sad, isn’t it?

Actually, no, that’s not really true, other than the highest compliments and praise to the author.

**very mild spoiler**

Because this story does reaffirm one’s hope in the world. Maybe not in the middle of the book. The middle has tears, and they are NOT tears of happiness. But hope and love come through in the end, which is more than I can say for Feed. Stupid [ed. Artistic, mind-blowing] book that it is.

But back to my book review. I highly recommend The Underneath. Beautiful, poetic prose and interwoven stories crossing time but all arriving at a single, redemptive space, make the story worth a few tears.

To learn more about Kathi Appelt, visit her website by clicking here.

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