Written By: James Bowen
Published By: Thomas Dunne Books
Reviewed By: Melissa Minners
Years ago, I learned about a man who credited his street cat rescue for saving his own life. James Bowen truly believed that he and his cat Bob were meant to meet. Bowen was at an all-time low, getting high on heroine and busking for his next score. Bob was a street cat who accidently found his way into James’ life. Taking Bob in was the catalyst that helped turn James’ life around and the two thrived in each other’s company, James eventually getting off the drugs and finding steady work and Bob learning what it was like to be an indoor/outdoor cat. James even wrote a book about it and A Street Cat Named Bob became a bookstore sensation, becoming the inspiration for a movie with the same name. But that couldn’t be the end of James and Bob’s story, right?
In The World According to Bob, we learn that James had more stories to tell about his adventures with Bob. In this book, we learn just why James was willing to accept an offer to write a book about his and Bob’s life and relationship. James was growing tired of the perils of life out on the streets. The responsibility he felt for Bob, which had already helped James give up drugs, was once again inspiring James to make some improvements in his life. He knew that selling The Big Issue and busking weren’t going to bring in a steady income, especially when emergencies arose that could keep him from working the streets. James faced the daunting, and sometimes embarrassing, task of writing about some of the lowest points in his life and how a former street cat helped him rise up and take control of his life. Would people take to his tale or would he fail once again at a venture he was starting to truly believe in?
The World According to Bob is proof that one can never hear enough stories about James and Bob’s life together. One might think that this book is a copy of the original with a few new tales added in, but except for some explaining regarding how he and Bob met, James Bowen offers his readers new insight into their lives and how things weren’t perfectly rosy once he quit drugs and started selling The Big Issue. There was definitely more to the story and James gives us the high and low points with the same humility he offered up in his first book. And Bob, well, who doesn’t love stories about Bob?
I found myself completely absorbed in James’ tales, especially when it came to his decision that he needed a steadier source of income and how he went about achieving this goal. James is an excellent storyteller and his writing is detailed enough to allow me to feel as if I was right there, accompanying him in his experiences. Perhaps James hasn’t realized it yet, but writing may very well be a new career for him.
In the end, The World According to Bob should be seen as a companion book to A Street Cat Named Bob as it delves deeper into the story we fell in love with in the first book. Bob has been gone almost two years now and I, for one, can’t get enough stories about him and his special relationship with his human James. I definitely recommend this book to each and every pet owner out there as it perfectly represents our relationships with those special animals who enrich our lives every day of their existence. As I understand it, there is another book by James Bowen out there entitled A Gift from Bob, about how this loveable former street cat changed James’ view of Christmas. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!