Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #1 (2013): A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

Number of pages: 280

This book tells a true story that made newspaper headlines, about how the writer, James Bowen, and his cat Bob became minor celebrities.

The story starts with James, who is homeless at the time, returning to his sheltered accommodation to find a cat outside his front door; believing him to belong to a neighbour, he initially ignores the cat, but it soon becomes apparent that the cat is a stray, and he sees James as a new master, and follows him around. Seeing him as a sort of kindred spirit, since both are homeless, James takes in Bob, the cat, and he starts following him out when he goes to busk in Covent Garden, and he finds himself becoming popular because he has bought his cat with him when he performs.

The book recounts all of the highs and lows of the following years, highlighting the incredible friendship between himself and Bob, and also about all the problems he faced, particularly with adversary from staff at the nearby tube station who objected to him busking, and also confrontations with other people and his own problems with his drug addiction; he also talks of his own experiences selling the Big Issue. The book emphasises the whole idea that Bob's arrival actually helped James to turn his entire life around, and it proves to be an uplifting tale.

The whole story made me more aware of issues affecting homeless people in real life, and it is easy to sympathise with James almost straight away. However, the parts of the book that most affected me where moments when Bob got scared into running away in the middle of London, and James' devastation as he frantically searched for his cat. Although I knew it would end happily, these episodes gave a vivid picture of how he felt at the time, and the idea that he might never see his cat again.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to others to read.

Next book: Flow, My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
Tags: animals, autobiography, book review, british, drugs, in the media, memoir, non-fiction

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