Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen

Yes. Bob, the cat, is still alive at the end of James Bowen's memoir, A Street Cat Named Bob And How
He Saved My Life. I've read enough nonfiction about relationships with animals to know this is the most important question readers have. Does the animal survive? James and Bob are both alive and, if the book is any evidence, doing better than either have ever done.

In 2007, James Bowen was busking on the streets of London, trying to make daily money to live playing his guitar. He was a recovering addict, living in a bare apartment, when he came home one day to find a ginger tomcat in a stairwell. The cat was as ragged looking as Bowen himself, and James liked him, but assumed he belonged to someone in the building. And, as much as he liked the cat, even when he couldn't find his owner, Bowen was reluctant to adopt him. "The last thing I needed right now was the extra responsibility of a cat. I was a failed musician and recovering drug addict living a hand-to-mouth existence in sheltered accommodations. Taking responsibility for myself was hard enough."

But, Bowen finally broke down, and took the cat to the vet, named him Bob, and found himself unexpectedly with a companion. The cat and the man found each other to be soul mates, meant to be together through all the tough times of trying to make a living on the streets of London. And, Bob was right there on the streets with James. It was Bob's presence that unexpectedly brought attention to the pair, and brought in the daily money they needed to survive. After a little while, "Something began to sink in. It wasn't all about making money. I wasn't going to starve. And my life was much richer for having Bob in it. I was such a pleasure to have such great company, such a great companion. But somehow it felt like I'd been given a chance to get back on track."

It's a sobering book, a story of a lost man, an invisible part of society. It's sobering to see not only how much Bob changed Bowen's life, but how much he changed the attitudes of the people the pair encountered on the streets. With Bob on his shoulder, James Bowen was no longer invisible.

At the same time, A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life is a triumphant story of two lost souls who found strength in each other. It's a moving story of hope, triumph, and the power of a relationship so strong that it forever changed two lives.

Bowen and Bob blog at www.streetcatbob.blogspot.com, and they're on Facebook under StreetCatBob.

A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen. St. Martin's Press. 2012. ISBN 9781250029461 (hardcover), 279p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - A friend gave me a gift copy of the book.





9 comments:

Beth Hoffman said...

Terrific review, Lesa! I so agree with what you wrote: "It's sobering to see not only how much Bob changed Bowen's life, but how much he changed the attitudes of the people the pair encountered on the streets. With Bob on his shoulder, James Bowen was no longer invisible."

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story of Bob and James. The videos of them on YouTube are remarkable, too.

Lesa said...

I loved the book, Beth. I also watched the videos on YouTube, but couldn't decide which to link to on the blog. Bob is a beautiful cat!

Karen C said...

I don't see how I could not put this book on my to read shelf after such a glowing review. Thanks!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Karen. I hope you enjoy it!

JFTortorella said...

Yesterday I read A Street Cat Named Bob, and today I read The World According to Bob! Fantastic books! They left me with a happy feeling. These books may not only provide enjoyment, but should also inspire more compassion for those who are struggling to make a living. Addiction is such a terrible thing...thank goodness James Bowen was able to escape the teeth of this problem along the way. I sure hope he is doing well now and has a job that gives him true security. I pray that he feels God's love, too, and will make Him the source of strength and hope.

Lesa said...

What a beautiful comment, JFTortorella. I'm so glad these books touched you. Thank you for commenting here, and thank you for your wishes for James Bowen. Those are beautiful thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I read A StreetCat named Bob and The World According to Bob and they are both wonderful, heart warming books. James and Bob bonded so well and are taking care of each other. It warms my heart to see how Bob took care of James when he needed him the most. What a great story!! Love you James & Bob!!
Claudia, Kemptville, Canada xoxo

Lesa said...

What a wonderful comment, Claudia. Thank you.

Lorna Penfold said...

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Alan