Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review: Dewey

Summary: How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history. -- Grand Central Publishing

I have been wanting to read DEWEY: THE SMALL-TOWN LIBRARY CAT WHO TOUCHED THE WORLD by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter for a few months. Everyone seems to just love this book, and I thought this week was the perfect time to read it. I have been stressed out getting ready for the holidays (like everyone else, I'm sure) so I needed a light read that would also make me feel good. I figured DEWEY would be the perfect book for me! I was right -- I absolutely loved this book for so many reasons.

Being a book lover and a frequent patron of my local library, I was definitely drawn to a book about a small-town library cat. Not to mention that I am a sucker for books about animals -- I love to read about all the cute little things they do. And while Dewey did do lots of cute kitty antics, I was pleasantly surprised that this book had so much more to offer. Ms. Myron not only wrote about her love of Dewey and the value he added to so many people's lives, but she also opened up a great deal about her personal life -- from her serious health issues, to her divorce from an alcoholic, to losing her parents, to raising a sometimes difficult daughter as a single mother. Ms Myron learned many valuable lessons throughout her life, and she willingly shared these with the reader.

Of course it probably goes without saying that I absolutely adored DEWEY; and I think he did so much for the town of Spencer, Iowa. While Dewey was left in the freezing cold book drop bin and desperately needed a warm home and a loving owner, I think that the townspeople of Spencer might have needed Dewey even more. When Dewey arrived on the scene, the town was in the middle of an economic crisis (kind of like what our country is experiencing right now) and I think they were grasping for some sort of hope. Dewey, with his survival story and loving nature, filled that need perfectly. I have no doubt that he was a very special cat, and his ability to read people and sense their needs just warmed my heart.

If you think you'd like to read DEWEY, you can get a sneak preview of Chapter 1 here. There is also an entire website devoted to Dewey Readmore Books. You can see lots of pictures of Dewey as well as some of his television appearances; and you can even join his fan club. You can also learn more about the book and the Spencer Public Library. And if you want to see even more pictures of Dewey, take a look at this picture gallery on the Hachette Book Group website.

Most of you are probably done with your holiday shopping by this point, but DEWEY would make a wonderful gift for someone special. This book is guaranteed to touch their heart and warm their soul. It would also make a great book club selection because it does discuss some very real issues. It's also a book that might be fun to read because it's probably a little different than your normal book club fare. There is a reading guide available if you'd like to take a look at some of the themes and questions that you could discuss.


Anonymous said...

I found myself wishing our library had a cat after I read this book.

S. Krishna said...

Thanks for this review. This one has been sitting on my shelf for awhile, but it looks like the perfect Christmas read!

Ti said...

It's nice to read a book once in awhile that is just "sweet". A nice, simple, sweet story and that is what Dewey is. Now that I am thinking about it, I may have to pass my copy on to a animal lover friend of mine.