Lola and John have been married for 56 years. They are thoroughly used to each other’s ways and do everything together. When John begins to be forgetful, Lola is sad, and one day, when he ‘falls over’ and his ‘heart stops beating’, Lola is completely bereft. After the funeral, she doesn’t know what to do with herself with no one to look after. She watches TV and reads and surfs the net, but it’s a dull life. One night when surfing, she comes across a website that purports to rent out cats ‘for any length of time’. Having gone through the various cats on offer, Lola decides on Tim who seems to fit all of her qualifications. When Tim arrives the very next day, she is delighted. They spend all their time together, and in the evenings, Lola cuddles her cat and remembers her young days.
This is not just a book for children – it has something to say to everyone. Unusual in approach and with much humour as well as seriousness, the subject of death is handled beautifully but quirkily. The illustrations are first-rate. Jitta’s people are four-square and real, and as the old couple share a bath and drink wine together and ‘remember the shopping list’, we see the way we will all be in years to come. The pictures, with elements of collage, and often with flat colour backgrounds, tell the story quite as much as the text and are absolutely essential to the whole. This is a remarkable book, not in the least bit sentimental but with great truth and subtle wit. And I found it deeply moving. For everyone over five.