The human fascination with wild animals often leads us to speculate about what they might be thinking, or why they behave as they do. When a mountain lion was spotted near St. Croix, Wisconsin, J.D. Beaufeaux’s imagination was sparked. In Big Cat, he tells the story of the lion’s travels, narrating from the cat’s point of view.
The story follows Big Cat (as Beaufeaux calls him throughout) as he wanders from place to place in search of food and shelter. He is chased by dogs, hunts prey of all types, and has occasional encounters with humans as well. Stopping to eat fresh roadkill carries a risk of being hit by a car, but a lion has to do what he can to get by. Some photos and illustrations by the author show the cats as beautiful and powerful.
While Big Cat is well imagined, the writing is challenging. Frequent misspellings and misused punctuation slow things considerably, and Beaufeaux adds in research and information about the cat sightings seemingly mostly verbatim from various websites, without warning us that the narrative is shifting from Big Cat’s perspective to, say, an entry from www.savethecougar.org. While living vicariously through a mountain lion seems potentially exciting, the story cycles through the same pursuits over and over, dulling their impact. Despite these setbacks, the book comes to a surprisingly emotional close.
Big Cat is certainly testimony to the author’s passion for wildlife, but before it can appeal to a general readership yet, it needs comprehensive proofreading, editing to break up repetitive passages, and a story with a bit more depth.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.