When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.
Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other's troubled pasts.
James and his street cat Bob have been on a remarkable journey together. In the years since their story ended in the bestselling A STREET CAT NAMED BOB James, with Bob's help, has begun to find his way back to the real world. Almost every day, Bob provides moments of intelligence, bravery and humour, at the same time opening his human friend's eyes to important truths about friendship, loyalty, trust - and the meaning of happiness. In the continuing tale of their life together James shows the many ways in which Bob has been his protector and guardian angel through times of illness, hardship, even life-threatening danger. As they high five together for their crowds of admirers, James knows that the tricks he's taught Bob are nothing compared to the lessons he's learnt from his street-wise cat.
I decided to wright these to reviews together as I sort of see them as one and the same story, just divided up into two books: a part I, II and apparently III on the way. It's like reading James' diary. Or even Bobs. It truly is a heartwarming story. Sometimes it sounds a bit cheezy, describing a book as being a story that "gives hope", but this truly is the case for these two. James had a really difficult past, one that is hard to comprehend, even with his honest tales about his history. But by being as open and honest as he can manage to be (it's not a fictional story!), he gives his readers an inside look into a "hidden world" within our day-to-day lives. Drug addictions and homelessness are problems we are aware of, but not really. By reading James' side of things, you can see how you never really understood before, and how blind we all are.
And then we have Bob. Wauw. Maybe I'm a bit prejudiced because I am a cat lover already and always had cats whom I adore very much, but seriously, you cannot resist Bob. You just fall in love with him. The way he cares about James in a really atypical way, the way he senses things,... And I love James' honest anecdotes. Some of them might be truly trivial, but they're just so heartwarming.
These books make me want to go and cuddle my cat, knit her scarves and try to get her to give me high fives. Also, next time I'm in London, I'll be on the look-out for Big Issue -sellers. As a Belgian tourist, I was never aware of them and had never heard of the magazine before. Thank you James for changing that.