I have always been a sucker for animal stories (big James Herriot fan here!) so when I spied this book at the Marion Library, I took to it immediately. Then, there was the claim that this neko saved his life, so how can I resist that?
Like James, Bob was down and out when James found him. He was hiding out in the flats he was living in and James decided to spend his very meagre cash to nurse him back to health. He named him Bob after a character, a killer, in Twin Peaks but didn't think the ginger cat would stay with him. Fortunately for James, Bob was nothing like his namesake.
He thought that Bob would leave him for the streets immediately, but instead Bob stuck by him, giving him loyalty, love and lots of laughs. James, back then a drug addict on rehab eeking out a meagre living on the streets, found himself suddenly concerned with another creature besides himself.
But having Bob had another amazing effect on his life: Suddenly, people were noticing him more when he busked and as a result, he was earning more!
But it's not all roses and daffodils - James discovered that not everyone was kind to him and Bob. Some took pleasure in bullying and tormenting him and sometimes, even Bob. And despite Bob's charm, the system and people's apathy was working hard to make life difficult for folks like James.
Still, James found himself having another motivation to exist: to give Bob a good life. And in order for him to do that, he had to straighten out his life.
What I loved: Bob's lovely character really shines through in this book. You definitely get the feeling that this kucing is one one special creature. But what I really appreciated from the book was how James highlighted the plight of the homeless, how they are ignored by society and how little help they received from people.
He mused that if a cat could give him such love, support and compassion, why couldn't his fellow human beings?
So, if you see someone trying to sell Big Issue at a street corner somewhere, buy a copy because it will help them straighten out their lives.
Final thoughts: I loved this book! Read this in two days, and that's only because I didn't have much time to read books because of my busy schedule.
James Bowen has quite a different life now. His book has hit the bestsellers' lists, have been translated into so many languages, and he even went to the United States on a book tour! His second book on Bob, The World According to Bob, was just released in July this year. Hopefully, James' success will lift him off the streets completely and provide people who are down and out the inspiration to change their lives.