I just finished reading A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob. I loved them both and highly recommend them if you’re looking for something uplifting to read. (I have yet to read A Gift from Bob, though that will be first on my Christmas reading list come December.)
Simply put, Street Cat is a memoir of how James Bowen and Bob found each other and how they saved each other. Bowen, a recovering addict, finds a stray ginger cat in his apartment building, whom he takes in. After several days, it becomes apparent that they were meant to find each other. Their relationship is a unique one—they work on the streets of London together, ride the bus together, find adventure together, and learn to survive and change their lives together. Daily life isn’t always easy for them, but together they do their best.
A story about a cat (or any animal) always draws me in. However, Bob’s spirit is unlike any I have read about before, especially for a cat, and it is what had me glued to each and every page. Like most cats, he’s adventurous, curious, fearless (with a few exceptions), and gets into a bit of trouble every now and then. But his loyalty to Bowen is outstanding and how he shows it is even more incredible. And he is one smart kitty; handsome, too!
I immediately fell in love with Bob, just as most people who meet him do. I am not alone in loving him, though unlike many others, I have not met Bob, but only know him through the books. (If I ever find myself in London, I will be on the lookout for them both.)
Bowen’s story is pretty incredible, too. He had a difficult life growing up, and as a young adult found himself living very dark days of drug addiction and homelessness. It is during his time in recovery that he meets Bob, and it is Bob who gives Bowen something to live for, something to strive for. For many years he and Bob make a living busking on streets of London, then selling “The Big Issue,” a magazine for which homeless and unemployed individuals become vendors and earn a piece of the profit. He tells his story in a very factual and humble way. He doesn’t delve into too many details, but doesn’t gloss over the reality of it either.
His first book describes how his life changes due to meeting Bob and through the adventures they live together. The World According to Bob is a continuation of those adventures. It also tells Bowen’s adventure of writing his first book. He is worried that people won’t read it, but it floored to find that it resonates with hundreds—thousands—of people. It was a bestseller in England, and then in the US and elsewhere.
James and Bob have become celebrities—they do book signings, their first of which drew in over 200 people. (If they were to come to New York, I would make every effort to be there. I wouldn’t bring Winston, however, as he is not a fan of other cats.) They have been featured in newspaper articles and television shows; they are stopped on the streets of London; they have their own blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube videos, and web shop.
Cat lover or not, you will find their story is one of hope, faith, and love. They are just feel-good stories that will lift your spirit.