Posts Tagged ‘Tthe World According to Bob’

You can relax, it’s not a Robert Jordan 🙂

Book 44 – The World According to Bob, by James Bowen. This is a memoir, of sorts, about Bowen and his cat Bob. It’s the second book about them but I haven’t read the first.

James is an ex-drug addict, who lived on the streets for many years. Bob was a stray who took up shelter in the block of flats James was living in at the time. He was injured and didn’t seem to be trying to get home to anyone, so James took him in and looked after him. That began a great friendship, and allowed James to explore a different side of himself.  Ultimately, it gave him the emotional strength to move off methadone, off subutex, and to finally be clean.

The book includes a number of reflections on particular situations. Some are quite unnerving and some are ‘non-stories’, just little chats almost, introducing the reader to some of Bob’s foibles.

The book is no-nonsense; there’s no floweriness, no long sections of complex prose. It really does feel like someone sitting down and chatting about something that happened to them once.

It’s described as a feel-good book, and in some ways it is, but in other ways it’s a reminder that life can be pretty rough, and some people don’t survive that. Sometimes people need another person (or in this case, cat) to give them a focus and purpose.

I liked that, although I didn’t alway agree with the actions or responses described; it takes a lot of determination to write about yourself in a less than flattering light but it also gives the reader something more concrete to understand. For example, I now know more about the risks of being homeless, and about the long term physical impact of prolonged injection of drugs. These are things I wouldn’t have understood if the book was focussed only on the ‘feel-good factor’.

What you do come away with is the sense that James is a strong character, and Bob has made an enormous positive contribution to his life. Oh, and that Bob is a very clever cat!

As a writer, Bowen has obviously caught the right attention with these stories – there’s a film being produced right now. I am not sure whether I will watch it, but if I do, I want to read the first book beforehand, because I am sure the gritty realities will be lost.

Happy reading,

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