Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book review: A street cat named Bob - James Bowen

After years of living rough in the streets of London, James Bowen was trying to find the way back up with the help of a support housing programme. He first saw Bob, a street cat in trouble, on the doorstep of his apartment building. Bob was quite sick and James decided to nurse him back into good health. They’ve been together since.

James was a busker. He started selling The Big Issue magazine, and was approached by literary agent Mary Pachnos, who had previously represented “Marley and me” in the UK. She encouraged James to write down the story of him and Bob. The result is the book “A street cat named Bob”. The book became an instant bestseller in England, with good reason. It is a great story.

Ok, when you look at the writing style, it isn’t literature, as was stated in comments on book forums. Also, the editing could have been a bit tighter; however, James is not a professional writer (he got help from a writer by the name of Garry Jenkins) but it is an absolute fact that the story is so nice that you forget about things like that anyway. You also want to hear the story in his words. What makes this book so great is that even though James had a hard time, he tells the story as it is but never dwells in self-pity. It is an uplifting story and we can do with something like it in this time of recession.

This is not a book just for cat lovers. It is a story of a human being who tries to get his life together again after years of living rough in the streets, abusing drugs. It is however also a story about an incredible cat who (I say “who” deliberately because a cat to me is a personality) shows that cats do bond with people. It also shows that cats have strong personalities and are intelligent. But cat lovers knew that already anyway. When you Google James Bowen or “a street cat named Bob”, you see a lot of links, also to YouTube. I will include one. The rest you can look up yourself.

I hope this book will get James Bowen the amount of cash he needs to get his life back on the rails again. There is talk about a Hollywood film, so it might even provide James and Bob with a sustainable income for the next few years. He deserves the break.

The book, that already has sold more than 250,000 copies, is available on paper and as an electronic book.  It has been translated into 18 languages, so you can probably find a copy in your own language if you’re not a native English speaker. Buy it. You won’t be sorry. Read it and re-read it when you feel a bit down. It will lift you right up again.

I’d love to read more about Bob and James. In July 2013 “The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat” will be on the shelves. I can’t wait.

1 comment:

  1. I have just finished reading the book! Touching story.


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