It's no fun losing your pet, but for Gina Gershon it was a life changer. Roughly 10 years ago, the actress known for such movies as Bound, Face/Off and most recently Killer Joe, came home from the Cannes film festival to find that her assistant ( Cassandra with a star at the end of her name) no longer had her cat Cleo in her care. Apparently, the ex staffer had taken the kitty to a dog groomer, which scared Cleo so much that he ran away. "So many people were like, 'Oh just get another cat.' But oh my God, I just fell apart. I was heartbroken," Gershon says from New York, where she currently lives. "I got to the point where I thought I was going crazy. I was so desperate to have him back. I didn't realize how insane it all was until later."
Her book, In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy and Lost My Mind (Gotham Books, $22.50) chronicles the 2½ month period it took to find the black cat, searching the streets of Los Angeles and meeting with random strangers who claimed to have him (there was a sweet $1,000 reward). Gershon, 50, encountered various impostors. She was initially fooled a few times by copycats, which was devastating. "After you've had your heart broke a couple of times you kind of shut down."
In Search of Cleo is also a metaphor for the men in Gershon's life. The sexy singleton interweaves past boyfriends into the story, like an unnamed designer Gershon hooked up with Hong Kong. She was convinced he was her soul mate and husband in another life until he revealed he was married. "I wasn't sure that [experience] belonged in there," Gershon admits. "But the book is just a trippy journey about looking for love. If you're open anything can happen, I suppose."
In the last chapter, we read that "a large woman with short, cropped hair and pierced body parts" finally found Gershon's dear feline, near the grooming place where he originally ran off. Gershon knew almost immediately: Cleo has a telltale spot on the roof on his mouth and a certain way he eats. Her one true love is still around. "He's a very demanding, spoiled cat," she admits. "He's getting older now, he's all brown and moving a little bit slower. But he still wakes me up in the morning with kisses." Could another book be in the works? Doubtful. "It was important for me to tell my story but I'm not a writer," she stresses. "I love writers, and I wish I were a really good one. My style was just keeping it in my own voice, even if there were run-on sentences. My favorite passages are the ones I wrote and never looked at again."