A Street Cat Named Bob, James Bowen

Book 8 – A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets

This book started off a little rough around the edges. Bowen is not a very skilful writer, and much of the initial story felt forced. Bowen is living in ‘vulnerable housing’ and is in a drug rehab program when he finds a homeless cat, whom he names ‘Bob’, in the street near his home. In the early part of the story, as he develops a relationship with his new companion, he has a tendency to rely heavily on a diary-style narrative, listing their activities in chronological order; “we did this, then we did that”.

However, as the story develops, Bowen starts to include some details about his past life to add some relevance and emotion to events that are happening with him and Bob in the present, and it is these parts of the book that are my favourite. He seems to relax with his writing and starts story-telling rather than enumerating. Over the course of the book timeline, he works on the streets with Bob keeping him company, first as a busker and then selling a local daily-issue magazine. A cat as a contented companion to a street-worker attracts a lot of attention, and in this day and age, attention eventually becomes viral, which is how Bowen and Bob first achieved a degree of infamy, and which I assume is what lead to the writing of this book.

Ultimately, this is a simple, heart-warming story of how Bowen finds purpose in his life, and rises above his drug addiction and lack of employment so that he is able to care responsibly for the cat that he loves. People who have never owned or liked cats may find it overly sentimental, but for cat-lovers, the stories of Bob’s cleverness and intuition will be all too real. Because … cats.

Rating: Borrow it.

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