Newest Review: ... font and were really spaced out) The author managed to write a whole paragraph on taking the cat to be neutered. It felt like a thin st... more
Cat Seeks Home And "Bob" Is Born!
A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen
Member Name: Machair1
A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen
Advantages: A beautiful story
Disadvantages: None at all
Last night I looked at one of my cats, Lily, as she lay curled up snug and warm inside her wicker basket nestled in a tight ball cocooned in the warmth of her fleecy under blanket. There is nothing so calm and relaxing as the sight of a cat fast asleep. It wasn't the same though for "Bob The Street Cat" or his owner James Bowen - both sleeping rough - both lost souls fighting for survival in a material world that had left them long behind.
James Bowen is the author of the book " A Street Cat Named Bob" but he is no ordinary writer. He is a man with a very troubled past. He, like so many homeless people, found himself in the predicament through a series of circumstances in which he was lost somewhere during his early years. His mother split from his father and then James found himself emigrating to Australia as a young boy as his mother took different jobs, and then further moves within that continent left him bewildered and alone desperately seeking to be needed and never finding acceptance, and enduring bullying. Eventually he found himself on the streets of London, and seeking solace in drugs his life spiralled out of control, until he was eventually helped to try to re-establish his life through the aid of a drug rehabilitation program. Busking for a living in the vibrant tourist area of Covent Garden paid just enough to live in a bedsit far away from the limelight and prosperity of the city centre, and it was here in the shadows of the hallway to this sheltered accommodation he met Bob, thin injured and frail a homeless cat desperately seeking help. Non judgemental Bob didn't know he had met a drug addict in rehab who could barely make enough money to feed himself and who needed all the strength of character to stay clean, but he had actually found a soul mate. The book is a tribute to the two of them who are mutually intertwined as they desperately seek to get in shape whether on feet or paws.
I first became aware of this book in the Petplan magazine which is free to those with policies. Normally I might have just glanced at the article but the photo of James absolutely blew me away as he is the image of my eldest son. I had to look twice because the faces, hair and expressions are identical, it was a very surreal moment. Also my son is also called Robert and is often referred to as Bob so I knew I had to read the book.
I ordered the book from Amazon just before Christmas and took it with me to read on a long ferry crossing. As the waves battered the vessel I was depending on to get me across the seas, it mirrored the storms that I am sure James faced as he battled his addiction, but somewhere in the calm as the winds died down he found a space in his life to help this beautiful cat get his life back. This is an inspirational story that I believe is now to be made into a film that is predicted to be as popular as Marley and Me. The book has already sold 250,000 copies and is now to be released next month in a childrens version which has a more simplistic approach and omits the references to drugs. It has to be said though that the book is not about drug abuse- yes it is mentioned but not dwelt on, which I think is right as James was in recovery at the time he met Bob.
I think what really endears me to this book is the way that it is written. It is an easy to read book that flows beautifully and for me holds some very poignant and memorable moments. Not wishing to spoilt a reader's enjoyment by giving too much detail away, suffice to say that James portrays his first Christmas day with Bob in a way that made me feel absolutely in awe of the author in his ability to appreciate so much in so little.
Loving cats I suppose makes this book an easy read for me as I have had them all my life, and have delighted in so many of their unique habits and rejoiced in so many of their self preservation rituals. Cats are such clean and proud creatures and make wonderful companions, but many remain aloof, but occasionally a gem comes along that is able to form a very close knit bond with their owner. It is however unusual, though not unheard of, to see cats out and about on leads as Bob was to do as he accompanied James to Covent Garden on his busking expeditions. It reminded me so much of a person who lives locally to me and I often see out and about with their cat on a harness. I always make a point of talking to them and am always welcomed, but told many times that the cat is their reason for living and their soul mate.
This book is a heart-warming story of a chance encounter between two very lost souls who come together and offer mutual support, and it is this story that fills the book with optimism with only a fleeting glance of a life gone by in desperate times. It is also a glimpse into the sad truth about homeless people who are unique in their own personal journey as to how they arrive in this dark place. I always think about them at night when the stars are out and the winter night is cold and a biting wind blows, I imagine them huddled in doorways and freezing - it is such a sad reality of the ones we so easily forget and I hope this book will raise awareness of them and promote understanding and empathy. James is an articulate individual well educated and intelligent and this comes across in his ability to tell the story with maturity, and this also helps to highlight the fact that so many people are homeless and not all from one stereotype.
Cats love three things- warmth, food and companionship and James provided them all- he even attended to his veterinary bills on his limited income. It is a tale of hope and promise and a wonderful insight into the human spirit that reaches out even when it is struggling to survive itself. It is incredible.
If you are interested in finding out more James has a 7 minute video on YouTube that gives you an insight into his world and the book can be purchased from Amazon for £3.86.
Summary: A tale of love between two once lost souls.