Dec 16, 2010

Dewey's Nine Lives

by Viki Myron and Bret Witter

The past week I've gone through a string of frustratingly uninteresting (to me) books. The latest ones I borrowed from the library to finish up my TBR challenge just were not grabbing my interest: Split Estate, Last of Her Kind, The God of Small Things, Sweetness in the Belly. All failed me before fifty pages. Even Walden, which I've wanted to read forever, was so difficult to get into I gave up. So it was nice to find something that looked familiar and friendly on the shelf: Dewey the famous library cat.

Dewey's Nine Lives isn't all about Dewey, although there are several stories of him in there. Mostly it's a collection of stories about other cats; their owners were inspired to share after their hearts were touched by reading about Dewey. I really enjoyed reading the first part of this book. The cats and their people are all such individuals. There are snuggly affectionate cats and bold, independent cats. Cats that came into the lives of people who sorely needed them, and others that made their way into someone's life who never wanted pets or cats before. My favorite story was about the cat that healed the heart of a veteran with PTSD, and the cat who amazed me was the one that spent his days roaming the wild only to come running when his owner called. That cat at different times in his life, survived an owl attack, being bitten by a coyote, and swiped by a bear! There are stories of cats who are the sole animal soaking up their owners' love, and then there's the Florida resort that was practically overrun by cats when the kind-hearted owners started feeding strays. What ties these stories all together is the deep bond each cat has with its human family, and the difference the cats made in each person's life. Very heartwarming stuff.

There were only a few things about the book that lessened my enjoyment of it. Some of the chapters drag at first; you get a lot of backstory about the people involved (and the history of different towns) before the cat ever comes along. The author kept interjecting her own Dewey experiences into other people's stories, as well. It did show how she sympathized with the other characters (sometimes people she'd never even met) but at other times it just felt like an interruption, or filler for a story that didn't have enough detail. And I lost count of how many times she re-told snippets from the first Dewey book, especially finding him in the book drop. The last chapter really started to loose my interest. The first eighteen pages were all about this man's life before a cat made an appearance, and even then the cat had a minor role. It wasn't until the end when the story dovetailed with Viki's own that I realized why. It was more about the author's own personal life and just kinda lost focus for me. In the end, a new kitty comes into Viki's life- never one that could replace Dewey (having such an opposite personality, too!) but one that brought her new love.

If you liked Dewey, or like cats, I recommend this read! Otherwise, it might be of little interest.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 306 pages, 2010

more opinions at:
Bookfoolery and Babble
Hooser's Blook
Lesa's Book Critiques

4 comments:

bermudaonion said...

My mom read this one and enjoyed it, but didn't rave over it either.

Callista said...

I'm not reading your review yet as I still have to write mine but just wanted to say, I KNEW you'd be reading this book. Every time I get a book about an animal, I think of you.

Do you have Scent of the Missing: Love & Partnership with a Search and Rescue Dog by Susannah Charleson? It's from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I haven't read it yet but it looks great

Jeane said...

Bermudaonion- Yeah. I felt the same. A nice read, but not great.

Callista- I don't have a copy of Scent of the Missing yet but it's on my TBR list, thanks to Caribousmom!

Amanda said...

I just read the other book about Dewey this year so I'm not sure if I'll read this one any time soon, but I probably will at some time in the future!