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Dining and Driving with Cats - Alice Unplugged by Pat Patterson - Guest Blogger Book Review

By 7:00 PM , , , , ,

Dining and Driving With Cats - Alice Unplugged is a heartwarming and beguiling adventure of a couple who shares a love that most of us only imagine. Pat Patterson is a born storyteller and makes readers feel as if they are part of the road trip. This book is as much a story of sweet devotion as it is an exquisite example of discovering life's hidden joys in the smallest of everyday experiences. Not since Michael Ondaatje’s hypnotic voice in The English Patient has a book spoken with such an allure for the reader. You might even spot a bit of Irish in the author and his spouse's detailed arguments comparing a dish from one restaurant to the same of another restaurant.
They, along with the cats, dine frequently during a sometimes hilarious but always romantic auto trip across the South. As the miles flip the odometer, we are given insight into how this unusual relationship between the couple came to be, evolved, and gradually, at the end revealed in a secret you didn’t see coming. What, you say? There is a twist in a dining dialogue? Yes! And you’ll just have to read it for yourself–no spoilers here. Dialogue is so natural between the two; you’ll swear he recorded the entire trip. Alice is revealed in the first pages as a real life brainy, successful business woman enjoying life in San Miguel de Allende a small cathedral town high in the Central Mexican foothills. For over thirty years she lived in Washington D.C.. When she was fresh out of grad school and managing her firm’s D.C. office she captured the heart of a young man who came in from the rain. He fell hard. He pursued her. She said no –she told him she had cats. What she didn’t tell him was that she also had a secret. Over thirty years have passed since Alice revealed her secret. The young man is no longer young but he still pursues her. She calls him hubby. This is their story of a shared love for travel and history, for food and for their sweet and wily cats Munchie and Tuffy.
You might also say the book is unusual in that it totally engages the reader from the first page without a hint of violence, bloodshed, graphic sex, drugs or language. The author's main character (besides the two cats) Alice, does say "you bastards" once. Alice is supremely self-confident and comfortable in her own skin as we learn early on when she promises the author a vehicle of his dreams if he will join her in a multi-state road trip from Mexico across the South and help wrangle two cats into restaurants, diners, cafes and hotels. He expects to find a Suburban or maybe an Escalade in the drive. Alice surprises with a Japanese sub-compact - a Honda Fit. She says it's "flexible". They drive - Scott La. & the Boudin War. They dine - New Orleans at Gautreau's, Clancy's, and Herbsaint. They laugh - the Carousel Bar. They cry - tragic death. If you come along on this moveable feast you will find yourself caught up in a romantic love story that involves the Other Woman and a secret that Alice cannot keep. You will dine on scrumptious creations from America’s most acclaimed chefs from Austin and New Orleans to the Procope and Odeon Relais at Buci Market in Paris. Along the way you will laugh at cats stuck in boxes, fight with a Pirate, terrify a US Vice-President, discover cat smuggling, and learn how the Other Woman persuaded Alice to accept the author's ring. So what’s keeping you? Hop in ‘cause these cats don’t bite. Besides, “The Get In Here and Eat” pop-up food truck is waiting just up the Austin highway.

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Jennifer's Review
This is my review for Dining and Driving with Cats.
It's a great book that I truly enjoyed reading. It's about a young girl who, along with her husband, goes on a trip to different areas around the country. She visits places such as New Orleans, Louisville, and Alabama from Mexico with their two cats, trying different restaurants and hotels. You get recipes from the restaurants/bars, and it's a great book for cat lovers, wine lovers, and expensive food lovers. I give it 5 stars! And I can't wait to read the second book.

Author Bio
I was Raised in the South by a pack of wolves - good wolves with a pack leader and lifetime mate that protected the young and taught the three male pups how to survive in a chaotic world without losing the gift of kindness and love for fellow wolves. My love for writing started with a gift from my father. Entering high school he gave me a Norman Mailer war story titled "The Naked and the Dead". For the first time I realized the writer could own the true world and the fictional world in the same story. From that time on writing came easy for me. In high school I wrote a weekly humor column for our newspaper. In college at Chapel Hill my freshman short story about a talking horse who gave advice to world leaders (my version of Mr. Ed)  got me an invite to the Thomas Wolfe Creative Writing program. Two years in this program taught me the value of reading other people’s works and developing a critical eye. If you can criticize someone else’s writing you have a good start on improving your own efforts. Upon graduation from University I was invited to join the US Army where I spent three years and served as a Lieutenant in the Field Artillery on the DMZ in Korea during the Vietnam War. After release from service I proceeded to Graduate School for my MBA and fell headlong into the computer trap. My years in the computer industry span the lengthy period from the day Jobs introduced the Lisa computer until Zuckerberg announced his IPO for Facebook. Along the way I was honored as co-creator of the “fuzzy search algorithms” used in most search engines. My DRM (Digital Rights Management) company was the first to release Julian Lennon’s No. 1 Hit “Day after Day” for Internet only distribution. Six of my patents are currently in relicense to Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Valve, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Zynga, Audible, Intuit, Symantec and MacroVision. My "541" patent is industry famous as the iTunes Patent that was licensed by Steve Jobs for iTunes. During my career years I never stopped creative writing. An early cold-war espionage thriller garnered a call from an Editor at a Harcourt imprint in New York. This was my introduction to book editors. At that time the Editor ran the show. After two lengthy consultations it was clear that the only way I would be published was to basically re-write the entire 325 pages. You see, the Editor  loved my writing but hated my story. I decided the only way that I could write and keep my story as my story was if I could afford to be independent. I was very good with computers. During the following years I continued to write for my own pleasure while I built an enviable career in the computer software industry. I wrote daily for business of course. In fact I have over 600 pages of published patents covering my inventions and literally thousands of pages of professionally written marketing, sales and technical documents still in circulation with my fingerprints on them. This paid for my passion - creative writing. My favorite unpublished work is titled "Stealing Blake"  which I spent the better part of twenty-four years composing and rewriting. It gave me the chance to create a historical fiction about one of my favorite creatives - William Blake. Maybe I will revisit that one after I finish Alice’s story. At last we have today. It started with a love letter. I wanted to tell Alice how much her devotion to me had  meant through the years. She was my rock - my confidant and she never found me wanting. We took a trip. We took cats. There were a lot of surprises. I decided our trip called for a love letter. After fifteen pages I realized I couldn’t stop without telling it all to Alice. Now two years later Alice can read the first installment in Dining and Driving with Cats - Alice Unplugged.  

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