Monday, January 26, 2009

Dewey: The small-town library cat who touched the world

Dewey: The small-town library cat who touched the world
Author: Vicki Myron
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Price: $39.99

It’s not often a cat becomes world famous, but Dewey Readmore Books did just that.

The tiny bundle of ginger fur and purr was found nearly frozen to death by librarian Vicki Myron in the returns slot of a small Iowa town library one bitter winter’s morning and quickly set about charming the staff and patrons.

Two years after his passing, "Dewey: The small-town library cat who touched the world" by Vicki Myron was released, and the book's title really says it all.

Dewey was more than just a cat – he was a friend who touched all who passed through the Spencer Public Library doors. His gentle, affectionate and most of all tolerant nature made him perfect for his very social library life where befriending high powered executives scanning the pages of the Financial Times or engaging with disabled children and snuggling into their laps was all in a day’s work for this handsome marmalade coloured cat. Add in a snooze on a book shelf or an empty box and a snack of his favourite delicacy of rubber bands and Dewey’s happiness was complete.

Dewey was also a dear friend to the author, Vicki Myron who infuses this heart-warming tribute to the power of animal friendships with her own story of marriage to an alcoholic, living on welfare, and health problems ranging from the difficult birth of her daughter, Jodi, to breast cancer.

And just as Dewey had captured Vicki's heart and those of the Spencer residents, he began to enchant the media too. News of this lovable library lion spread and soon Dewey was appearing in magazine and newspaper articles and documentaries state and world wide. He had charm and charisma in spades and it leapt through the pages of these publications and drew visitors far and wide to the small town with a population of just 11,000 to come and meet him, often driving hours out of their way to do so.

When Dewey sadly passed away in 2006, his obituary ran in over 250 newspapers world wide.

There’s a proliferation of cutesy animal stories on the bookshelves at the moment all clamouring for buyers dollars, but what makes Dewey; The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron stand out from the pack is its honesty and integrity. Myron might not be the greatest writer in the world but you can be absolutely certain that she loved and knew Dewey like no one else and this adoration shines through in every lovingly written word, every tenderly told anecdote.

Needless to say, as a book and cat lover I adored this book. It's a soft, gentle read that at the same time has you eminently hooked to the very last tear inducing word. I am only sorry I can never meet this one of a kind kitty.

And, as it turns out, I am not the only one that thinks this book is something special: the author received a staggering US$1.2 million dollar advance after an intense bidding war for this novel (and we’re in a recession??), it topped the New York Times best seller list and plans are afoot to turn it into a Hollywood blockbuster staring Meryl Streep.

Dewey even has a facebook page!

What a legacy for an abandoned ginger kitty of indeterminate breed to leave behind.


If you want to meet Dewey, click here for a you tube clip of a documentary on Iowa's most famous cat.

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