Book review: A Street Cat Named Bob (spoiler alert)

Good news! I made my reading goal for the year. Up from last year’s 15, this year I’ve read 30 books. Having this goal has reminded me to read, and brought a lot of joy into my life. Now onward to today’s post!

I read a lot of books, but not all of them bring me such a whirlwind of emotions as “A Street Cat Named Bob” did. I flew through this book quickly but really took in every word along the way. Sure, I’m a cat lady. And often I will give any book with a feline on the front a chance. But I also love reading tales of people overcoming hardship. So putting these two themes together, you get a wonderful book. Some people on Goodreads criticized it for some spelling and grammatical errors, but looking past those small things, there is a passionate, strong voice and a great story worth reading. I am excited to watch the movie soon, but I’m big on reading the book first when applicable.

Author James Bowen is a recovering drug addict who has spent a good amount of time on the streets. In his late 20s, he’s finally living with a roof over his head, but then he meets a cat whose situation is living similarly to how he used to. Each day the friendly feline is waiting near his front door when he returns home. At first he thinks the cat is someone’s pet. Then he names him Bob, and wonders whether or not he was feral and if he’ll want to return to the streets eventually. Spoiler alert: that day never comes. James helps Bob get back to health, and soon finds that having someone to care for helps him just as much.

Bob goes out busking with James, and James notices that he gets much more attention than when it was just him. Most — though not all — is positive. But he starts to make more money than he’d used to. It’s so sweet when people start bringing treats for Bob. Both of their lives start to improve as a result of one another.

When he eventually gets banned from performing on the street, James returns to an old endeavor of selling the Big Issue. As he starts to have a much steady income, with Bob’s help, he finally completely becomes clean. Bob is more than his pet — he’s his family. He inspires James to strive for more and to get better.

There are two moments of suspense when it seems that Bob may get lost when they are out together, and those times show how much James cares for Bob. Overall, this book reveals homelessness from the perspective of those living on the streets, and this true story is also an inspiration and uplifting story of a man and his cat. It is a must-read for cat lovers, but with many themes to look at, it is a story anybody can take something from.

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