A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life

James Bowen, Author
James Bowen. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-02946-1
Reviewed on: 04/01/2013
Release date: 07/30/2013
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Bowen isn’t exaggerating; when he met a stray ginger tomcat (whom he named Bob after the creepy character on Twin Peaks), he was estranged from his family and recovering from heroin addiction, supporting himself as a street musician in London, and depending on the kindness of strangers. His chance encounter with Bob in 2007 changed everything. The injured animal attached himself to Bowen, and quickly proved more than just an emotional asset; in the competitive world of busking, passersby began donating more money after Bob took up position next to Bowen’s open guitar case. With Bob’s friendship bolstering his spirits, and after a warning from the police, Bowen shifts to real work, selling the charity magazine Big Issue and getting off methadone. Despite the grimmer passages in the book—a run-in with a vicious dog, tension with fellow Big Issue vendors that lead to serious consequences—the book is positive on the whole. Bob becomes an Internet celebrity via YouTube videos taken by passerby, and Bowen reconciles with his mother and returns home to Australia for a cathartic visit. Given Bowen’s inherent decency, he might well have turned things around even without his feline friend, but he convincingly makes the case that Bob was the cat-alyst. Agent: Mary Pachnos, Aitken Alexander Associates. (July)
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