As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

February 2, 2011

HOMER'S ODYSSEY: A FEARLESS FELINE TALE, OR HOW I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE AND LOVE WITH A BLIND WONDER CAT by Gwen Cooper, 2010

Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder CatOnce in nine lives, something extraordinary happens . . . The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight . . . Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night. But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. (Amazon product description)

Review by Emily Sonderegger, Book Addict

I don't even know where to begin with this one. This is a book that I won through Goodreads' First Reads program, and might be one of the best books I've ever come across. No, scratch that. It IS one of the best books I've ever come across. I laughed, I cried, I gripped the couch cushions in terror, I raged at the unfairness of people. In short, I ran the gamut of every emotion known to man while reading this book.

Homer is adopted as a blind kitten and quickly makes his new mom realize that she can't define him by his disability. You know there's a parallel right there, don't you? One of the quotations that hit me the hardest was when she said, "No one can tell you what your potential is." For Homer, his potential is endless. He doesn't know what it's like to see, so he can't assume that he's different. He attacks life with gusto, attempting the 6-foot leap from scratching post to closet shelf multiple times before he makes it. Nothing deters this little guy, and he's sure not going to let the blackness stop him.

Homer is the kind of cat who makes cat-lovers out of cat-haters. There's so much affection and love poured into his tiny body that the only way he can exist, it seems, is by sharing it with everyone and anyone. The one exception is the burglar who breaks into their apartment. Imagine a blind cat launching himself at a very large man like a mad banshee, and chasing said large man out and down the hall. Homer is bravery personified. (well, personified if he was a person. Maybe catified?)

The thing is, there are life lessons to be learned in this book. As the 'parent' of a disabled cat myself, I can see myself in Ms. Cooper. I never want anything to hurt my Pippin, yet I can't let myself hold her back. She was hit by a car several months ago, and hasn't ever recovered full mobility in her legs. She limps dreadfully, and people often look at us askance when they see her walking. I've even had people stop me and ask me if I know that my cat is injured. One kind little man offered to build us a scooter. So I understand some of what Ms. Cooper experiences with Homer and people's natural curiosity. I also understand what it means to let the disabled pet live their full potential without interference from Mom. It sometimes kills me to allow Pippin to go her merry way, but I know it would kill her to be confined. She's so naturally curious, and she's found all sorts of ways to accommodate her disability. I tell you what, when she runs, you can't tell there's anything wrong with her!

Homer is the same way, and I think that the similarities between him and my Pip made me get a lot more out of this than I might have otherwise. It makes me realize that I need to give people the same benefit of the doubt and allow them to live up to their potential. It makes me realize that unconditional love is the only way to go. It makes me realize that loving and being loved in return is a beautiful thing. It makes me so grateful for my beautiful Pippin and how much she loves her mommy. All in all, I think the biggest lesson that I'm taking away from this is that everyone, no matter who they are, has something wonderful to offer.

Please, read this book. Read this book and accept the challenge to be a little better.


Market: Nonfiction
Language: Moderate
Sensuality: None
Violence: Mild
Mature Themes: None really

2 comments:

Amy Finnegan said...

This books sounds so entertaining and unique . . . especially for a non-fiction! I'm excited to read it!

Thanks for the excellent review!

Alice H said...

The Idea Room sent me. Your review was great - I totally have to read this book now! Thanks for the chance to win a book! alicedemskehansen at gmail.com