Review

Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions

by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter

Nine stories about cats of all kinds are told in DEWEY’S NINE LIVES. Author Vicki Myron responded to the overwhelming reaction to her first book, DEWEY, by compiling and sharing these stories of other unique cats and their owners. Each tale is different --- depending upon both the individual cat's personality and the circumstances of the owner --- but shares many similarities. In several instances, the cat owner experiences difficulties of some sort --- whether poverty, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, unemployment, or alienation and loneliness. It doesn’t matter if the cat is a cuddler, a watcher, a clown, a hunter, or a lapcat. Each holds an important role in the life of its owner or companion. And each human readily acknowledges the value and importance of the cat's companionship and affection.

The felines include, but are not limited to, Mr. Sir Bob Kittens, who does a strange karate-type dance while standing on his hind legs; Tobi, a very timid cat who remains in hiding unless her owner Yvonne is nearby; and Spooky, who likes motorcycle rides --- under 25 miles per hour, that is. Although cats are carnivorous, Cookie loves broccoli rabe. Rusty, a rather large cat, has a taste for people food and loves relaxing in a bathtub full of water. Anyone who has ever owned a cat will confirm that no two cats are alike, and the stories in this book are certainly proof of that.

At a resort on Sanibel Island, Flordia, Tabby rides in the basket of Mary Nan's bike. In the 1980s, Sanibel Island has an abundance of feral cats, and many of them end up at Mary Nan's. First, one cat shows up. Then another. Before long, she and her husband are running an unofficial feline shelter.

As a farmboy, Bill rescues animals and owns a pet raccoon. He volunteers for the army and serves in Vietnam, where he encounters the unspeakable side of war. He returns with post-traumatic stress disorder, which plagues him for many years. The only constant in his life is the little kitten that had somehow escaped the grip of an owl in flight and landed on Bill's car. He rescues the kitten, which he names Spooky. Many years later, Bill adds another kitten, Zippo, to the family. Both have feline AIDS.

Glenn is under the dashboard working on his old 1953 Studebaker Commander when he feels something land on his chest --- a small orange and white kitten. Glenn pets the kitten, which stretches out on his chest. It isn't frightened by the banging of tools, so Glenn continues to work on his car. An immediate bond is formed.

The stories here are as varied as the cats and their people. Also included is information about Dewey and Vicki's lives. The final chapter contains a very happy ending for Dewey's mom. And it's no great surprise that a cat is part of that story, too.

Reviewed by Carole Turner on October 12, 2010

Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions
by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter

  • Publication Date: October 12, 2010
  • Genres: Essays, Nonfiction, Pets
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0525951865
  • ISBN-13: 9780525951865