Vicki Myron's memoir Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched The World, was an unprecedented success. This is because the story of Dewey Readmore Books, who was found cruelly dumped in the book drop of the Spencer, Iowa library when he was just a stray kitten, was more than just Myron's love letter to her cat. Dewey (and by extension the Spencer library) became a pillar of support for the economically struggling community, a symbol of optimism and generosity. Dewey's happy, loving, and friendly demeanor helped the library a popular place, encouraging community activity as well as reading.
When the story of Dewey's life was released, cat lovers everywhere sent Myron their own stories of how their felines helped them through hard times. Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions holds nine of those stories (appropriately), dealing with people from all manner of background and their beloved cats. For example, one story has a traumatized Vietnam veteran finding solace in a stray black kitten named Spooky, to the point where he would divorce his wife rather than give up the cat. Another tale has a woman talk about how she "married her cat" (i.e. finding a man with the same gentle, sensitive traits that she loved in her pet). The common thread through all of these stories is that the cats don't have to do anything to help their owners, other than just being themselves.
Cats are sometimes seen as uncaring and even sociopathic, due to their more subdued and independent nature. Most cats don't have the drive to please their owners that's seen in dogs. But Myron's accounts of these stories prove just how much support a cat can give. Simply by being around a person and being willing to give and receive affection, cats form a deep and lasting bond with their owners. Their attachment may not be overwhelming or even direct, but it's almost always there.
Myron's stories have a captivating and humanistic style, offering sensitivity without overbearing sentimentality. However, nine of these stories might be seen as repetitive. The stories all follow a similar pattern-- person has hard times, person finds cat, person loves cat to stay sane through hard times, cat eventually dies, person grieves but now has strength to move on. None of the individual stories are bad, but that pattern might seem bland after the third or fourth story. But this probably won't be the case for cat lovers, who are already familiar and committed to that narrative. For them, Dewey's Nine Lives is strongly recommended.
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About the author:
A freelance writer/cartoonist living in LA, with my fiance' and our wonderful cat. You can see my work at www.rubysworldcomic.com and rubynation.smackjeeves.com