Published by Hodder & Stoughton on March 1st 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Social Issues
The moving, uplifting true story of an unlikely friendship between a man on the streets and the ginger cat who adopts him and helps him heal his life.
In 2017, I joined a book club. It’s a pretty tiny club, but just like all book clubs, the whole idea is that we take turns choosing books, read them and then discuss them. A Street Cat Named Bob was our book club choice for January, and although not something I would normally pick up, I decided to give it a chance.
James Bowen is a recovering drug addict who is trying to get his life together when he comes across Bob, an injured and apparently stray cat. He takes Bob in for a little while while his injuries heal, but to his surprise, Bob seems to have no desire to leave, and soon the two are pretty much inseparable.
To be honest, I don’t feel like there’s a huge amount I can say about A Street Cat Named Bob. I got pretty much exactly what I expected. The story is touching, and life-affirming, and if you’re an animal-lover, it’s impossible not to be charmed by Bob. It’s great to see James’ perspective of life on the streets and trying to get things back on track, as well as the hurdles he has to overcome in order to do so. The writing isn’t great, but it didn’t bother me to the same extent as a lot of other reviewers. It’s a very quick, simple read that only took me a couple of hours, and while I enjoyed it, there were definitely moments that grated. A lot of Ellie’s review resonated with me. I felt like James was trying really hard throughout the book to break prejudices and assumptions about homeless people, Big Issue sellers and those recovering from drug problems, and that he made quite a few comments determined to prove his own good nature, but then had his own prejudices and judgements against others. For example…
By far the most annoying people to work the streets around me, however, were the bucket rattlers: the charity workers who would turn up with large plastic buckets collecting for the latest cause. Again, I sympathised with a lot of the things for which they were trying to raise money […] they were all great worthwhile charities. But if the stories I had heard about how much of the money disappeared into the pocket of some of these bucket shakers were true, I didn’t have much sympathy.
In all honesty, it’s a lovely, touching, uplifting story, and of course all the Bob moments are great, but I wonder if perhaps I would have enjoyed the film more.