Why am I, a Horse Addict, writing a book review about a cat book? I don’t even own a cat. I would not describe myself as a “cat person”. So why review this book?
I am reviewing this book in the hope that if you have not already read it you will go out and buy it or order it today. This is not a cute little ‘cat’ story. This is the story of a recovering heroin addict scraping by as a street busker in London’s Covent Garden. His name is James Bowen. He lives in an assisted housing apartment building and one day he comes home to find an injured cat on the doorstep. He can’t afford a cat. He can hardly look after himself let alone an animal. But the cat waits him out and James gives in and they start a remarkable life together.
That is all I’m going to tell you about this book.
What I will tell you is that I have bought about 8 copies of this book. I lend the book to a friend and then the book starts on a journey. Here is the journey of the last one I “lent” out. I gave it to a friend at the barn in Florida. She gave it to someone she knew who was in a recovery group. That person was so taken with the book that she wanted more copies to give to others in the group. I bought two more copies and gave them to her to pass on. My original copy went to a teenage boy who had been abandoned by his parents, at the side of a road , when he was 8 years old. He loved the book and gave it back to my friend who gave it back to me. I had not had my hands on it for more than 10 minutes when someone who works with racehorses saw it and said:” Can I borrow this book. I’d love to read it.” That book is still travelling . I have now bought myself another copy.
I do not know anyone who has not found something in this book whether it is a love of animals, love of cats, a story of redemption, of recovery, of some kind of eternal plan. All these things can be found in this book depending on who is reading it.
When James Bowen was first asked to write about his life with Bob he didn’t want to do it. Then with the help of a writer they began to put the story onto paper. At the first book signing James was worried that no one would come to buy the book or want a signed copy. He asked a staff person in the bookstore if there were any people waiting to get books signed. The person replied that there were about 400-500 people already lining up around the block. The book has now sold over 4 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 20 languages. In November a British film of the book is to be released. Bob plays himself in most of the important scenes. He turned out to be a better actor than any of the 8 specially trained cats.
This book is not a great piece of literature. But it is a great book. Do yourself a favour, even if you detest cats, get a copy and read it. You will thank me when you do.