A Street Cat Named Bob – James Bowen (Review)

97814736333602When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.

Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.
A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.

I should probably start this by admitting I am not an animal person.  They’re fine in their place, which is outside, and I wish them no harm, but I’m just not interested.  So this is not the review of someone who would usually read a person-meets-animal-and-is-redeemed story (though apparently there are quite a lot of people who do!).

As you can probably see, this book is mainly autobiographical.  I found the descriptions of James Bowen’s life, and interactions with others, interesting.  He talks about the pain of just being ignored, unseen by anyone around him, as they pass by in their thousands to work or to enjoy themselves, and really makes it clear how much worse that can be, day after day, than the occasional (weekly) violent incidents life on the street is punctured by.  He is a recovering heroin addict, but this is only really mentioned as backdrop, with a couple of pages devoted to the ‘final step’ of moving off methadone, but the book in the main concentrates on James and the cat’s (Bob) relationship.

James personifies Bob in a way I found difficult to relate to.  He ascribes thoughts and drives to Bob that are too extreme, too human, to be believable.  However it is clear that as someone who has difficulty relating to other humans, Bob is very important to James.  I do believe James when he says that without Bob he would not have tried, or maybe succeeded, in turning his life around, but this is more due to the responsibility he feels for Bob, and the relationship on James’ side, than to anything inherent in Bob.

It’s a quick and easy read.  If you are into Animal Saviour stories, then give it a whirl.  I suspect there are more riveting/better written examples of the genre out there, but if this is your sort of thing, or you’re at a loose end, I’m sure you could do worse.

Apparently there are even sequels.  And a film.

Buy it here.

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