I recently read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare which was lent to me by a family friend. Branching off in a completely different tangent that same friend lent me their copy of A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen. This is a memoir I had heard wonderful things about and I was really keen to read it so I started it pretty much straight away.
A Street Cat Named Bob is a touching and up-lifting tale of what happened when James meets Bob the street cat. James has been addicted to drugs and living rough on the streets of London for many years when he finds a stray cat on the stairs of his sheltered accommodation block. James knows he barely has the food to feed himself and yet he finds himself really drawn to helping this cat. James names the cat Bob and they are soon to strike up a strong bond. The adventures and misadventures that James and Bob are to find themselves in are to reshape their lives forever. The two are to find hope on the streets of London together. I thought A Street Cat Named Bob was such a charming tale which I found rather hard to put down because I really wanted to find out what happened to the pair next. I found I was really invested in finding out if they were going to be okay. James’s descriptions of his life busking on the streets is a sad one and really makes you think harder about your own life.
Both James and Bob are really likeable characters. James has made many mistakes in his life which he is open and candid about in this memoir. James is at heart a good guy and has been learning from the mistakes of his past. Though he has finally got himself off the streets and off heroine onto methadone James doesn’t start this memoir off with much hope. In steps Bob. An intelligent ginger tom with a lot of love and hope to give. The pair were pretty much made for each other and I loved reading about their transformative relationship.
A Street Cat Named Bob was the brain child of literary agent Mary Pachnos who approached James and Bob while they were selling the Big Issue on the streets of London. James not long after sat down with the writer Garry Jenkins to form his life into a coherent story. The style of A Street Cat Named Bob is simple and easy; no pretensions are taken with the language used. It felt like James was given the freedom to use his own words as much as possible while Jenkins was just there for support. Which meant that the memoir felt natural and contained a lot of the personality of James and Bob.
A Street Cat Named Bob is an utterly charming memoir of the touching and transformative friendship of James and his cat Bob. I highly recommend to all!
Have you read about James and Bob? Any recommendations for similar memoirs?