Book Review: A Street Cat Named Bob

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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.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. qmarilen says:

    I recently discovered this as an audio book on spotify and absoloutly love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m so glad you found it.

      Like

  2. I love that you sent this fine book on so many journeys! It is a wonderful story, and a wonderful book. I actually think I may have bumped into James and Bob when I worked in offices near Soho in the mid 2000s. I recall standing outside a pub and chatting to a guy with a cat on his shoulders. I really hope he is a happy man. Bronte

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    1. anne leueen says:

      That probably was James and Bob. There is a nice interview in the Telegraph online with James and Bob for the upcoming release of the film. James seems to be pretty well centered. And happy with his life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad. If his story raises awareness of people facing the issues he faced, then that can only be a good thing.

        Like

  3. OMG I will 100% be reading this book. I LOVE cats and cried at your review (i’ll be a mess reading the book no doubt). Thank you x x

    P.s. if Bob dies at the end I don’t think I’ll cope :/.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Bob is still very much alive. He plays himself in many of the scenes in the movie which is coming out in November. But read the book first. Books always have a lot more than the film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. O that’s a relief! Thank you, I will do :).

        Like

  4. Sheryl says:

    Bob is beautiful, I want to read this book before the movie comes out.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! The trailer for the film looks good but do read this book before seeing it. There is always more in the book than the film.

      Like

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