A Street Cat Named Bob was a very sweet story about two homeless creatures, James Bowen and a ginger cat, finding each other and providing each other with unconditional love. More than that, it gave insight into James’ backstory – how he lost his way, became a heroin addict, and found his way back.
Without the “cuteness” of Street Cat Bob, he may never have made a living as a street performer or magazine seller – women were attracted to Bob and wanted to stroke his fur and hear his story and make contributions to his welfare. And James may never have received the help to totally get off addictive drugs and fight for a real life for himself. So yes, Bob did save James Bowen’s life. He found transformation in his life and health thanks to Bob. He wrote, “It was as if someone had drawn back the curtains and shed some sunlight into my life.”
Sure I like cats, but I found James’ backstory much more important. I liked the insights given into why James became a heroin addict – pure and simple loneliness was his explanation. He was alone without family or support, and heroin was his friend, allowed him to anesthetize himself to his isolation. He felt invisible to all those walking past him on the streets of London, until there was a pretty ginger cat on his shoulder.
As James sat playing his guitar on the street for money in Covent Garden, or then sold magazines outside the Islington Tube Station, James found that Bob stopped the rushing commuters, lightened their day, and also their pocketbooks. Bob has been a goldmine for James. And James has taken care of Bob in return. Nice, cute story. Now, how can we help all those homeless or helpless people in our society that we rush past, as there’s nothing soothing and purring there to look at? This book made me more aware of strays – whether animal or human – and I found it more valuable in that way than just as an entertaining read.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life