Commentary for Riding on Comets: a Memoir

... finishing your book.  Truly, I am blown away by your achievement. It's an excellent book, Cat,
beautifully written. I feel like I truly know you now for having read it. You took your family stories and
wove them into a coherent, intricate tapestry. I hear your voice much more clearly and your voice is age
appropriate for the time you were describing. LSB

Just finished Riding on Comets.  I am in awe of it, lovely, touching, warm, and much more.  What a feat.
~ DW

I wanted to send you a quick note to say congratulations again on your book!  I can't imagine the
excitement you must feel just holding a copy of something you spent years creating. ~AD

The intro to your memoir is drop-dead beautiful.  WHAT A VOICE! ~P. Moore

I really like your book.  You do a great job-- entertaining, poetic, not sentimental, yet inspiring.  I'm
happy to have the opportunity to read it. ~ RM

I just finished your book this afternoon and I’m so impressed by what you did. You didn’t take the
traditional route in this memoir, but little by little at first- and then in a landslide - it all comes together in
a way that leaves the reader with a vivid, full picture of not only what it was like to grow up among the
people and the place you have come from., but how it formed you as a writer, as a person.  You always
believed this was the form it should take, and though sometimes I wondered how in the world it would
work, it does. Really, really well. Brava, my sister. ~JG

“Cat Pleska’s memoir of a childhood lived among the“giants” of her West Virginia family is by turns
humorous, touching and achingly beautiful. This is a storyteller who knows how to piece together
shards of story into a brilliant mosaic of a life. A joy to read.” Jan Gary

As for your lovely book.... I finished reading it just after Christmas and was very HAPPY to write a blurb
for it, as well ... we'll have to talk some time.  Although clearly dissimilar in some ways, in others, well,
we share a lot in our upbringings despite gender differences and locale! ~MH

I love the sections in your memoir about the crown of feathers, how to treat the croup, etc.  Judy Byers
will really like this kind of material for class room use.  It will give her plunder.  :  ) ~P. Moore

Really, I loved Riding. ... the wonderful way you handled the material from early childhood so it had that
half-remembered, slightly hallucinatory quality that childhood memories have. And the way it worked at
two levels: you told it so that the reader knew what was really going on even if it was beyond the child's
understanding. Tricky stuff, that. And there was the way the voice shifted as the narrator got older,
became a more cognizant youth, but still not fully comprehending. Probably best exemplified in the
seen with the two buds at the fair, the narrator not quite comprehending the troubled other girl's life
and impulses. Then, of course, the adult you wrapping things up with an adult's hand. Well done.
I want to say it was wonderful. ~GF

Dear Cat,

I just finished reading your memoir. I laughed, I cried, and it became an inspiration to me. I love the way
you told your stories. I could not put it down. The closeness and understanding you developed for your
mother and the distance from your father were examples of wonderful writing. ~JS

Dave Lavender
Keeping up with Cat
A seventh generation West Virginian, writer, editor, educator and publisher Cat Pleska has become
one of the strongest voices in the state for books as she is an essayist for West Virginia Public Radio
and is the book reviewer for the Charleston Gazette.

This summer, Pleska, who teaches writing and literature at Marshall University Graduate College as an
adjunct, and teaches in the Master of Liberal Arts Studies program at Arizona State University, is out on
book tours touting her new book "Riding On Comets: A Memoir," fresh out on Vandalia, an imprint of
WVU Press.

Pleska has already had signings around the state from her home turf of Hurricane to Taylor Book in
Charleston and Clarksburg.

She's coming to Empire Books and News at Pullman Square from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30.
Go online at to find out more about the book which chronicles her life as an only
child growing up in a working-class family in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can see her full tour schedule online at ~DL

I literally just finished your book and I LOVED IT!  Some of the stories made me laugh (A Brush With
The Law had me rolling), some really broke my heart (a few of the stories about your folks and
CarnieVAL), some made me think of my own childhood (anything involving your grandparents).
Generally I find stories are either entertaining or beautifully written and your memoir is both.  Congrats
Cat, truly!  I feel so grateful to know and learn from such an amazing woman and gifted writer. ~AD

Cat Pleska, "Riding with Comets" was a 2-pinter! (that's two pints of Hagen Daas Caramel Cone ice
cream) AND you made me late for work!!! It's a page turner!! ~MM

I finished THE book tonight. LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! You done good. I think
you may have created a new art form!!!!!!!!! Ya know, I read it before you sent it to the printer, but
seeing it put together, all your thoughts finally coming together, well, it just worked!!!!!! You should be
so very proud, Cat. Really!!! You did an excellent job. I’m sooooooooooo proud of you!!!!!!!!!! I know
how much work it was. Kind of. ~KCS

Oh, Cat: I just read "The Time of Perfect Mud Pies" and absolutely loved it. It took me right back to my
mud-pie making days. I can't wait to read all these lovely well-formed see how you are also
formed in sweetness and grit. Your writing transcends, Cat. Truly. Yours is a book to savor and let the
layers unfold and unpeel. It's my absolute favorite kind of writing. Not only will it touch hearts (and I
don't mean that in a smaltzy way) but it will also make us think, which, to me, is what literary writing is all
about. And thank you, too, for the lovely shout-out in the acknowledgements. You're too kind. So
thrilled that people will be reading your work far and wide. ~MM

Just finished this awesome book authored by my neighbor, Cat Pleska. I highly recommend this for your
summer reading. I had a difficult time putting it down. Great job, Cat Pleska. ~RP

Cat, I just finished reading Riding on Comets, and it is wonderful! Thanks for such a lovely memoir!

Just finished "Riding On Comets" and I loved it. Loved your family stories. Loved the way you ended
your chapters. Loved when Dan came along. Relieved, actually. Loved the connection you made
between your dad and nature. My dad and he were kindred spirits. Loved your devotion to your mom
and how detached you learned to become from the women and their drama. Loved, loved, loved the
experience you had that Christmas morning, knowing you would be okay, even better than okay,
overjoyed with hope. I had a very similar experienced curled underneath my covers, about that same
age, maybe younger. I just love you more, feel I know you well. Your story made me more empathetic
toward the young students who struggle with difficult family lives, and I'm so grateful for how well my
parents took care of us, despite their neglect and alcoholism. Bless you always. May your stories
continue to enrich our lives for many years to come. So proud of you! ~SBR