My Kind of Cat

January 18, 2012 Biography, non-fiction 6

As soon as I finished reading Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, I immediately jumped into the sequel (a good sign, I think!).  And in the introduction I came across the following quote, which really represented the first book to me: “People appreciate Spencer, Iowa.  They like our cornfields and architecture and they also like what we represent: simplicity, old-fashioned hard work, but also creativity, commitment, and love.” This is what the first book was about – the simple life and love, represented by a wonderful lovable cat.  The entire time I was reading it, I was reminded of a book series I read when I was younger which began with a book called At Home in Mitford.  This book series is about the life of a small town pastor and his every day adventures.  The one word which comes to mind when I try describe this series and Dewey is “wholesome”.  They both focus on the little (and sometimes not so little) troubles and joys of life.  And even though I’m a sci-fi/fantasy reader much of the time, sometimes the down-to-earth description of another human being’s life can be very moving.  This book was one such book, both heartwarming and a tearjerker. I very much enjoyed the author’s style, which often included beautiful descriptions without becoming over-the-top poetic prose.  I also liked the parts where I really felt like we were right there with the author, something she accomplished through writing such as the following: [While approaching the library in the cold morning] “Whose idea was it to build a concrete and glass building in northern Iowa?  I needed my coffee.” Perhaps it is because I currently live in Iowa that I empathized so much with her feelings at that exact moment, but I think most people have experienced similar early-morning feelings :)  I would like to offer the caveat that you should not just read this book for a good cat story, but for a good people story.  Some reviewers on Goodreads have complained that the author spends too many chapters on her own life and not enough time on cute cat stories.  While I did notice that some chapters were all about her, they were short chapters, and I felt like the context made the stories about Dewey all the more moving. If you read and enjoy Dewey, I would also highly recommend the sequel, Dewey’s Nine Lives.  This book is not simply a sequel with more stories about Dewey, but a collection of particularly moving stories the author heard from others as a result of publishing the first book.  However, I think the author has done an exceptional job choosing stories which represent Dewey’s character well.  I also enjoyed getting to hear the happy continuation of the author’s own life story, which is included to a lesser degree in this second novel.  Although there is less about the author herself, Dewey’s Nine Lives does have a strong human component as well, but again I found that really made the stories more moving.  The writing is also very similar to the first, in its’ pleasant story-telling style. Summary Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World and Dewey’s Nine Lives – 4 stars – Wholesome, heart-warming, a tearjerker…  A moving, well-written story about the simple life and the love and commitment of a wonderful cat. 

6 Responses to “My Kind of Cat”

  1. christa @ mental foodie

    I enjoyed this book also. My husband had always wanted to have cats (he grew up with them) while I was hesitant since I didn’t grow up with any pets at all. After I read this book, I thought maybe having a cat is not so bad… and now we have 3 :) I read this before I blogged, I wish I’d written a review then!

    • DoingDewey

      I’m glad you ended up getting cats – and it sounds like you must enjoy having them to have ended up with three :) This book definitely made me stop and think about how glad I am to have my cat.

    • DoingDewey

      Yeah, the unfortunate thing about this book and the sequel is that the stories often end with the cat in question passing on. As a cat lover myself, this did make it a hard read at times, but the stories were usually really heart-warming and made me appreciate my cat more :)

  1. Under the Tuscan Sun | Doing Dewey

    […] of food and was excited she included so many recipes. This book also had a certain charm shared by Dewey and At Home in Mitford. The author’s life in Italy just seems so wonderful and simple, that […]

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