Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dewey's Nine Lives by Myron & Witter

Dewey's Nine Lives by Vicki Myron
with Bret Witter
Copyright 2010
Dutton - Non-fiction/Animals
306 pages

We don't love cats out of need. We don't love them as symbols or projections. We love them individually in the complex manner of all human love, because cats are living creatures. They have personalities and quirks, good traits and flaws. Sometimes they fit us and they make us laugh in our darkest moments. And then we love them. It's as simple as that.

Dewey's Nine Lives is a book of nine stories -- two Dewey tales and seven other stories about cats who in some way deeply touched the lives of their humans. I gobbled down the first half of the book so quickly that I actually set Dewey's Nine Lives aside to force myself to extend the joy. I enjoyed it that much.

Each chapter of Dewey's Nine Lives is headed by the name or names of the cats whose stories are revealed within the following pages. I had some personal favorite stories, like that of Mr. Sir Bob Kittens, also known as "Ninja", a cat who was reserved enough that he was practically unadoptable but made his humans laugh when they discovered why he'd originally been nicknamed "Ninja". You just have to read it to believe it.

What I loved about this book:

As I read each of these stories, I couldn't help but think of my own cats and how they've touched our lives, often in similar ways. Our Sunshine, for example, was the most outgoing, empathetic and intelligent cat I've ever been owned by. I'll never forget the time I was crying and she climbed up on my chest, licked the tears off my face then tucked her head under my chin and stayed with me until I felt better. Most of the cats in this book are in some way special because of how they responded to their people, kept them company in their darkest hours, made them laugh, came running when they called. I smiled a lot while reading this book and occasionally wiped away tears.

What I disliked about this book:

These are small complaints, but the stories are often a bit meandering. Sometimes it takes the author a long time to get to the actual cat portion of a tale, although I always found that the background was relevant and helped you to understand the reason a particular cat was so special or important to helping a human get through rough times. I also kind of disliked the way the author inserted her own story into those of others -- although, again, there was a relevance to her comments about her own experiences and I've found that even as I'm writing this review there are many, many stories that I'm bursting to share. So, I can certainly understand why the author chose to do so.

Highly recommended to pet lovers everywhere.

Dewey's Nine Lives is a feel-good book about cats that any pet lover will appreciate, even those who aren't enamored of cats. I was surprised and pleased at the final story of the book, a continuation of the author's tale that connects to the story of another person with a very special cat.

The author politely warns readers that some stories may make them cringe and she doesn't necessarily condone how the humans chose to care for their cats. I felt that way about the many cats who spent their days outdoors and those who were not neutered, although we have always neutered but we used to have indoor-outdoor cats. After our Spooky was injured several times (once by a pack of dogs that nearly killed her) and after I read about how cats are contributing to the sharp decline in songbird populations, we opted to make our cats indoor pets. During her last years, we accompanied Miss Spooky outdoors and called her back if she started to walk out of sight. It's difficult to turn a cat who loves spending time outside into an indoor-only pet, so we started out fresh with Fiona and Isabel. They like sitting in open windows, but that's as close as they get to the outdoors.

My thanks to Dutton books for the Advance Review Copy of Dewey's Nine Lives! My copy will be traveling to the home of a cat-loving reading buddy in Upstate New York.

In other news:

Saturday's 24-hour Read-a-thon wiped me out, but I recovered pretty quickly. I've just been busy. We returned Kiddo to school on Monday and then went shopping for necessities and to check out whether or not Bookfool had a preference for particular monitor sizes (I'm not picky). Husband surprised me by ordering a new computer almost immediately. It will be a relief to have a computer that doesn't continually lock up. It's taking me forever to accomplish anything online. I'll warn you when I go offline to switch out computers.

Just walked in:

The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham - about Margaret of Anjou (from Sourcebooks)

The plan, such as it is:

Since I managed to finish three books and a graphic novel during the read-a-thon, I've got a bit of a backlog of reviews to complete, now. I don't want to give any of them short shrift (although I confess I might just skip Fables: Legends in Exile) but I don't plan to review them in any particular order, although I seem to be doing best alternating between adult and children's books, lately, so I may continue to review that way.

This post obviously requires a cat photo and today is Wednesday, so this one's a Wahoo!

I love it when my kitties hang out together harmoniously. Always very wahooey.

Happy Wednesday!

©2010 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I am seriously envious that you got the new Higginbotham. Wahooey!

  2. Tammy,

    I'll bet you end up with that new Higgibotham, one way or another. ;) You must have stayed home to comment at such an hour. Hope you're feeling better!!!

  3. I'm an animal lover, so I'll have to look for this one.

  4. Kathy,

    I think you'll enjoy it. :)

  5. This book sounds really cute. One of my cats always comes right up and snuggles in to my face any time I'm crying, or even just upset. He's wonderful like that. And I love the pic of the two cats together - if they are anything like mine, EVENTUALLY they will cuddle together :)

  6. Amy,

    Cats get such a bad rap but they're really very emotional animals and that's why we get the snuggling and comfort. I hate to think what people who are afraid of cats are missing out on. I'm sure you'd love this book.

    I've got a feeling my two kitty girls will eventually cuddle up together (if it ever gets really cold). They've slept very close to each other with paws touching and it's only been about 7 or 8 weeks since Isabel arrived! So, they're really getting along very, very well for a couple of felines who weren't introduced all that long ago. There's plenty of tussling, but I think half the time they're having fun (sometimes Fiona does get overwhelmed).

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  8. Mr. Lonely,

    I'll be glad to visit you. To be honest, it always surprises me that anyone at all visits my blog! It's just my place to play. :)

  9. I want to read this book! Love kitty stories. I'll have to keep in mind that the meandering gets somewhere, thanks for that note.

    My husband and I always argue over the indoor/outdoor cat thing. We have one cat that we adopted, he grew up as an outdoor cat and drove us INSANE when we tried to keep him inside. But I spend twice as much on vet bills for him- extra shots, he gets into fights, etc. So I don't want the other cat to go out, but hubby thinks she feels like she misses out on all the adventures....

  10. Jeane,

    Yep, you definitely need to read this one. I hope you like it! It was worth the effort to get to the point in those stories.

    Interesting; you're not the only female half of a couple that I've heard about who argue over the indoor/outdoor thing. I guess some people (chiefly men?) have a little trouble imagining how anyone could survive having to live indoors all the time, but it really is safer. Like your experience, our indoor/outdoor cat was much more expensive because she was injured several times. Sunshine actually began life as an indoor/outdoor cat and decided she didn't like the outdoors, thankyouverymuch. Too scary for her!

    I don't feel like my cats are missing out on adventures, just danger. And, it's nice to know your cats aren't contributing to the decline of the songbird population. It wasn't something we had to worry about, 20 years ago, but now we all need to think about how important it is to keep certain birds from becoming extinct.

  11. I'm glad you liked this one. I'm reading it right now. (One story a day!) I agree that the stories can be a bit meandering. I think Myron has really good things to say, though, about people and animals and also libraries!

    Life by Candlelight

  12. Amy,

    One story a day is a good way to read Dewey's Nine Lives! I zipped through the first half in one afternoon and I'm glad I slowed down during the second half to stretch out the fun. Yep, she has a lot of good things to say. The meandering is a small thing. It's a meaningful book.


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