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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
131 - Homer's Odyssey; Gwen Cooper
Once 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.
Everyone warned that Homer would always be an "underachiever," never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and lept 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. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.
Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.
I really loved this memoir, and found it touching that this little feisty blind cat was able to touch Gwen so deeply, and to change her thinking and her life. Although I am hesitant to quote text from a review copy, I just had to cite a few passages that moved me......
"The other thing I realized was, that while he seemed loving, he wasn't scared or desperate to be loved, the way you'd expect a kitten--or even a person--who'd experienced nothing but pain, hunger or fear to be. Nor was he hostile and defensive, a kitten who'd let a hard life stomp all the love right out of him. He was merely curious and affectionate. It was as if there was some innate source of courage within him, some inborn willingness to engage the world openly and joyfully, that even all the suffering and hardship he'd been through hadn't taken away from him."
"It was a staggering concept for me at the time. I had been dumped, forced to move out of my home, and was having financial problems--and I'd consequently developed an unfortunate tendency to approach life as if it were a grim struggle, to allow self-pity to consume me whenever I lost some of those struggles. But here was this cat, whose ordeals made my own worst days seem like a week in Disney World..........."
Homer's Odyssey is so much more than a story about a cat. It is a story about the transformation of a life (really two lives Gwen and Homers). The writing is beautiful, in a way that will leave you thinking about the things that mean most in life. How love comes into our lives oftentimes when we least expect it.
Homer's Odyssey should appeal to not just cat lovers but animal lovers in general. I also enjoyed this video of Gwen and Homer (click here).
Thanks to Random House and Shelf Awareness for sending this to me.
RECOMMENDED - 4.5/5 stars