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A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
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A Street Cat Named Bob (edition 2012)

by James Bowen, Garry Jenkins (Ghost Writer)

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3452231,545 (3.82)17
Member:Cloud9
Title:A Street Cat Named Bob
Authors:James Bowen
Other authors:Garry Jenkins (Ghost Writer)
Info:Hodder Paperbacks (2012), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:London, Strays, Cats, Memoir

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

Recently added byprivate library, Brazen, GypsySpinner, jjpb, kmkat2014, Y2Ash, hailsus, disbooks, jennybooks
2012 (3) 2013 (4) 2014 (3) addiction (7) animals (12) autobiography (12) biography (13) British (3) busking (3) cat (12) cats (35) drug addiction (5) drugs (3) ebook (2) England (6) fiction (3) friendship (3) homelessness (12) inspirational (2) library (2) London (24) memoir (16) non-fiction (37) pets (4) read (3) read in 2012 (5) read in 2013 (4) recovery (2) signed (2) to-read (8)
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    Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa (Girlsmiley)
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    Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Two tales of the modern British underclass. "Street Cat" is uplifting, while "Stuart" is not.
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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
This is a story about one man, his cat, and their continuing friendship....

James Bowen's A Street Cat Named Bob and How He Saved My Life is a feel good, wonderful, and cute book without being cringeworthy mushy. In fact, I'm afraid if Hollywood options it for a movie, it would be just horrendously cutesy-wutesy, lacking any substance. The gist is Bowen is a recovering heroin addict earning a meager living as a busker, in the U.S. a street performer, in London.

Returning home one night, he finds an injured ginger tomcat outside his flat. Growing up with cats, he decides to take it in and nurse it back health. Bowen tries to keep himself distant from the cat, as it is a stray and could leave at any time, but he winds up getting attached to the little fella. He keeps it and names him Bob after the killer from the 90's TV show, Twin Peaks.

One day, Bob joins Bowen while he busks and draws a big crowd and the money begins to roll in. Life is good but soon he and Bob start getting threats from the locals. Bowen decides he is finally going to take the steps to improve his life for good. He's slowly going to taper off the methadone and get himself a proper job working for Big Issue Magazine, a homeless assistance program. Bowen realizes that not only he has t accept responsibility for himself but for Bob too.

I absolutely loved this book! It's the perfect read for the approaching holidays. I am so glad that I saw this book in my local bookstore and I asked for it at my local library. Bowen's writing is very straightforward. He accepts responsibilty for how his life went off the rails. It was ugly and describes his follies unflinchingly.

Bowen shows the restorative power of pets. They can sense your mood and can help you. If you show them respect, they'll show you respect. Bob is such a smart cat and I love how Bowen describes Bob as his tether to the real world as he was going through his methadone withdrawal. Bob was his saviour; the kick in the butt he needed to permanently get on the road to recovery. I loved it!! ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I absolutely loved this book. It is written in an accessible style, and is extremely uplifting. ( )
  Holly_85 | Mar 16, 2014 |
This is a great book, simply written, but emotional. Bob is awesome - this is a cat who is calm, composed, and knows exactly who he wants to be with. Lucky for James, that person is him. James is living the life of busker - singing on the street for money. With Bob in around, James needs to get his life together, because who else will care for Bob?

Its sweet - its sad. Its not a 'woe is me' book. There is a positive undertones from the beginning to end. And, its an easy read. So, for a feel good true life book, I recommend A Street Cat Named Bob. ( )
1 vote TheDivineOomba | Jan 25, 2014 |
When James Bowen, failed musician and recovering drug addict, finds a injured, orange street cat outside his apartment, he decides to take him in just long enough to get him healthy again. Living hand to mouth on the streets himself, the last thing James needed was another mouth to feed. Little did he know the cat named Bob had other plans for him.

A Street Cat Named Bob is a memoir about how a man and a cat rescue each other. James nurses Bob back to health and Bob helps him recover from drug addiction and turn his life around. Animals are amazing. This was an uplifting and heart warming story. ( )
1 vote Narilka | Jan 2, 2014 |
"Ordinarily, no one would engage or even exchange a look with me. I was a busker and this was London. I didn't exist. I was a person to be avoided, shunned even. But as I walked down Neal Street that afternoon almost every person we passed was looking at me. Well, more to the point, they were looking at Bob... It must have looked slightly incongruous, a tall, long-haired bloke walking along with a large, ginger tom on his shoulders."

This is SUCH a sweet autobiography. It's not the most amazingly written book, it doesn't dazzle you with its exquisite prose - but you know what? Sometimes it's the story that counts, and this is a lovely one. As most of the universe will already know by now, it's about how James, a recently homeless recovering drug addict, finds a bedraggled ginger tom cat in his apartment building and, being the soppy sort, decides to take him in. Initially only intending to help Bob recover from various street-life-induced problems, the pair quickly become inseparable. After a while Bob starts to follow James to his busking gigs and sits by his side while he's working, earning plenty of interest (and extra coins) from passers-by. In turn, caring for Bob gives James a friend, a responsibility, someone to get up for every morning, a lifeline to happiness even during his darkest hours. This is the story of their friendship and how Bob and James changed each other's lives for the better. It's got some really tear-jerking moments, some dark ones and some all-out gorgeous ones, and I loved it. Bob and his little scarf, of course, are now famous around the world, partly thanks to his penchant for riding around London on James's shoulder!

This isn't only a tale of one man and his faithful cat - though of course, Bob is a constant theme from beginning to end - it's also a rather harrowing insight into life on the poverty line. James has been homeless, has been a drug addict, and throughout most of the book is on a methadone program to wean him off heroin. As an official busker in London, he works long days come rain or shine to scrape together enough to live on, and although Bob's presence ups his daily takings it's still not enough if sudden expenses arise. Not only that, but he's constantly vulnerable to attack by the... let's be honest here, the nasty pieces of work that riddle our society... as well as facing prejudice and verbal abuse on a daily basis.

As he starts to pull his life back together (with a little help from his feline friend), his next step is to become a Big Issue seller. This book will hopefully be a huge boost to sellers, because most people, like me, probably have no idea what this actually entails. I had no idea, for example, that for a seller the magazine is like a personal business. When they first become a seller (all sellers are licensed and given a spot to work from) they get a handful of copies for free, but after that it's up to them. Magazines must be bought (for a set price) before they can be sold on (again, at a set price), and stock must be carefully managed to avoid over- or under-buying. When the next issue comes out, some of the profit is used to buy new magazines, and so on. I didn't really know any of this, so I think I'm a lot more likely to be sympathetic to our local sellers and start picking up an issue every now and again!

All in all, this is a great little heart-warming read (especially for my fellow cat lovers). James is now fundraising to pour money back into the Blue Cross, the veterinary charity that helped him out with Bob when money was tight, which makes me like him even more. A bloody good chap - and a VERY cute cat. :) ( )
1 vote elliepotten | Nov 21, 2013 |
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When London street musician James Bowen found an injured cat curled up in the hallway of his apartment building, he had no idea how much his life was about to change.

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