REVIEWED: Sneaky Pie For President


Sneaky Pie For President by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown. (Satirical/Fantasy/Humor Novel, 2012).

Tired of “politics as usual” and–in particular–this year’s mega-toxic Presidential campaign? What better antidote to all this could you imagine than this gently satirical, humorous and kind of charming bit of fun from 4 years ago? And what better time to post it than election day?

Sneaky Pie Brown is, of course, Rita Mae Brown’s cat–and her alleged co-author of a succession of mystery novels in which the feline narrates and solves crimes. This one is, alas, not a mystery. Instead, the talkative cat (and her human companion’s other pets) embark upon an effort to save us quarrelsome and misguided humans from ourselves. Their mission: To have Sneaky Pie elected as American’s first non-human President.

The cat’s-eye-view of human politics proves delightful, amusing and sometimes almost uncomfortably insightful and/or provocative. The biggest drawback of Sneaky Pie’s campaign is that, although she and pretty much all other animals are more intelligent than we suspect, and they can talk to one another, none of us silly humans understand the various animal languages. No, not even the CO (i.e. the Can Opener)–Sneaky Pie and company’s fond if slightly disrespectful and secret nickname for Rita Mae.

Fortunately, Pewter–the somewhat overweight gray cat who shares the Brown household with Sneaky Pie, the wise corgi Tee Tucker and the overly excitable Jack Russell Terrier Tally–knows how to use the human Ms. Brown’s trusty computer. But before revealing their plans to Rita Mae (and hence the wider two-legged world) with a written campaign platform, they feel like they must rally as many non-humans as possible to the cause!

Sneaky Pie’s combination listening and speaking tour of her native Virginia thus takes up most of the book. She and her comrades talk politics (mostly environmental, economic and social policies) with an array of concerned beings (local horses, cows, mice, various birds, fish and even foxes). Not all climb aboard Sneaky Pie’s bandwagon (the fish are mostly indifferent to land-dwellers, while one particular species of birds proves actually hostile–repeatedly subjecting the campaign staff to airborne bombardment with poop). But many philosophical discussions (amusing but occasionally insightful) develop. These are often sprinkled with actual facts and figures about how valuable animals are to us humans, or concerning how foolishly self-destructive we can be. Their non-human perspectives on what needs to be done to make a better world for all are quite interesting, actually.

At the very end, Rita Mae discovers Sneaky Pie’s plans, courtesy Pewter’s word processing skills and signs on as the cat’s human campaign manager (level-headed Tee Tucker heads up the non-human side of the campaign). It’s not explicitly stated, but I’m assuming Pewter’s position amounts to Press Secretary. As for Tally, her over-the-top determination to be named Sneaky Pie’s running mate fails amid repeated slapstick misadventures.

Alas, the final result of Sneaky Pie’s entrance into the murky world of human politics is left hanging as the book ends before the actual election.

Then again, it is now something of a tradition for any Presidential candidate to release a book that outlines his/her ideas and intentions in advance of the campaign. You could consider this volume a lighthearted version of one of these–and a considerably more entertaining one than most, I’m sure.




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