"There's an old adage I read somewhere. It says each of us is given second chances every day of our lives; it's just that we don't usually take them." This is the opening line of a remarkable true story of a London busker or street musician, how a stray cat adopts him and changes his life forever.
Written in simple language, the pace of the book moves quickly, and can be easily done in one or two sittings. Bowen relates his daily life playing his guitar on the busy tourist-crammed streets of London with his new-found feline friend, while interspersing the story with his own background of heroin addiction and methadone recovery. Many of us tend to scoff at street beggars, silently wishing they would just get a job, but this sincere and heartwarming narrative will most likely change your perspective.
Almost immediately Bowen finds that the ginger cat attracts attention and earns him far more money than when he was without a furry creature curled up in his guitar case on the pavement. Previously Bowen had been practically invisible to passerbys, and now people were stopping to pet Bob, leave substantial amounts of money for Bowen, buy the cat food and treats and even knit scarves for Bob. Once when Bob runs off in one of the busiest places in London, crowd-crushing Picadilly Circus, Bowen is heartsick to think he may have lost his new best friend forever. Your emotions as a reader are as roller coaster as the author's as he mounts a near impossible search across the city.
By the time you finish the book, you will no doubt know who saved whom, and will be inspired by how a cat helped a man find his way. There are two sequels published in the UK, "The World According to Bob: Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-Wise Cat" and "Bob: No Ordinary Cat," and Hollywood has signed on to do a movie. The book has been published in 25 languages and is an international bestseller. But while waiting for all of that you can troll YouTube to see any number of entertaining videos of the cat who can "high-five" and the busker who just loved a cat and got a second chance at life in return.
Recommended by Betsy Schroeder