Home > Book Reviews, Books, London, Review > a street cat named bob – james bowen (audiobook)

a street cat named bob – james bowen (audiobook)

A Street Cat Named Bob

I used to have to travel to Angel tube station quite a lot a few years ago, and so I often saw James and Bob selling the Big Issue when I came out. I should have guessed that they would become celebrities of their own making (or more likely, celebrities of Bob’s making!).

James had been homeless and was living in sheltered housing when Bob wandered into his life. He could never have guessed the huge impact that the intelligent ginger tom cat would have on his life.

The story itself is very heart-warming, and us Brits are a nation of animal lovers – especially women and cats! So, you have to have a little soft spot for the subject.  It’s not all about Bob though – there are huge chunks of the book about how James came to be in the position that he was in, and what life is really like when you’ve reached that level. These were actually the parts that I found the most interesting, and in a way it’s a shame that they needed Bob as a catalyst for such a story to be told.

I got this as an audiobook, and it was expertly narrated by Kris Milnes, who really sounded like he was reminiscing – even little chuckles in the right places. Very convincing that it was HIS story. However, as much as I wanted to just love and rave about the book, there were a few things about it that just jarred me.

It may well say more about me than about the book though, as it was the attitude at some points that I didn’t like and I often had an element of disbelief niggling at me. Perhaps I’ve been a Londoner for too long. It’s a lovely story though, and was a great one to read / listen to over the New Year to give warm fuzzies.

I believe there are now a couple more ‘Bob’ books (I’ve taken AGES to get around to reading this as I was worried I’d be disappointed), but honestly – I’m not sure that I’ll be picking them up.

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  1. January 7, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Such a shame you didn’t like parts of the book. I have a friend who found it hard believing some of it too. Not so me, I should add. I’ve been lucky enough to meet James on several occasions and spent some time talking to him, and found him to be a disarmingly honest individual, So I’m curious to know which parts of the book you didn’t like, especially where the ‘attitude’ was you mentioned. It was a good review though and I agree, Kris Milnes did a wonderful job of narrating it.

    • January 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Sarah – I must admit, 3 books down the line now and my exact memories are hazy (that time of year!). I know that there was so much importance attached to Bob that felt (to me) a bit OTT in places, but also there were a couple of instances that felt very much “I was innocent and don’t know why this happened to me, it wasn’t my fault”. Now I may have been applying my own experience of a few people I knew as I’d heard very similar stories from them in the past – and then the truth came out and it WAS their fault, and they weren’t quite as innocent as they tried to make out.

      I did say in my review though that my feelings in this point could say more about me (and my own experiences) though 😉

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