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Monday, 14 May 2012

James Bowen - A Street Cat Named Bob

review by Babs Simpson live on show 17th May 2012
This is a charming, uplifting story that will appeal to any cat lover especially, but all animal lovers. The author, James, is a recovering heroin addict when the story begins in 2007. He is eking a meagre living as a busker in London, has progressed from heroin to methadone and, after living rough on the streets for some time, has been found sheltered accommodation - a flat in Tottenham, North London. He arrives home one evening to find a young injured ginger cat on the doorstep of a neighbouring flat. Having grown up with cats, he is naturally drawn to this stray who is obviously in need of help and begins to nurse him back to health, knowing that when the cat is fit again, is will more than likely return to the streets.

But Bob has other ideas. He becomes devoted to James and eventually starts going to work with him, travelling on James's shoulder and sitting beside him on the bus, taking a great interest in passing people and traffic. He sits in James's guitar case, never moving, and arouses much curiosity, as well as more money than James has ever made on his own! Eventually, a literary agent who passes them every day, suggests to James that his and Bob's story might make a book and the rest is history.

It's a great book, lovingly written and not all sweetness and light. We hear about the problems of street life, the way James became alienated from his family and above all, the enormous obstacles to be surmounted in beating heroin addiction.

Bob is the true hero of the piece and I guarantee you will feel really happy by the end. James and Bob were very lucky to find each other and I feel really lucky to have read their story.

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