Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dewey: The Small - Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

"Dewey:  The Small - Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron

In the tradition of "Marley & Me," "Dewey" is the touching story of a cat who not only had his life saved, but in a way saved the lives of thousand of people just by being himself.

"Dewey" starts out with the author's story, of where her parents came from, and the history of the area around Spencer, Iowa.  There is a lot of information given that shows why farming was so important to the people of Iowa, and how so many farmers lost their family farms in the 70's and 80's.  Vicki Myron shows us what her life was like growing up and what she went through as an adult.  Marriage, illness, divorce and then trying to raise her daughter alone.  She talks about going back to college to earn her master's degree in library science right after taking the job at Spencer Public Library.  The history of Spencer, Iowa, is also given.  It shows a small town that no matter what strikes it, always finds a way to bounce back and move forward.

All of this is told so that we can understand why Dewey had such an impact on the town of Spencer.  Found in the book drop on morning, after the coldest night of the year, he was christened Dewey.  Immediately he loved Vicki and the rest of the library staff, and quickly settled into life as the library cat.

After a contest was run to officially name the library cat, Dewey became Dewey Readmore Books.  An extraordinary name for an extraordinary cat!  There was no one specific thing that Dewey did that made him so special among cats.  It was the things he did every day, the things he considered his duty, that made him so very remarkable.

Every day, Dewey greeted library patrons at the front door as they came in, making them feel welcome.  He would allow the children to play with him, never once offering to bite or scratch.  He would seek out a person, just because he sensed that they were having some problem in their life, and he would plant himself on their lap and offer his comfort.  He would entertain anyone who would watch or play with him, by chasing catnip mice and red yarn.

Every year, the story of Dewey would spread further and further outside of that little town in Iowa, eventually ending up with a Japanese film crew coming to film him for a documentary.  And at the end of Dewey's life, email's and cards came from the world over, expressing their sadness at the loss of such a personal icon.

I think my favorite parts of the book were the additions interspersed through out.  Dewey's Daily Routine, Dewey's Basic Rules for Cats Who Have a Library to Run and Dewey's  Job Description were all unique additions that helped to really make this book for me.

I also really enjoyed the descriptions of Dewey's little idiosyncrasies.  So many things made up his personality, like being obsessed with eating rubber bands, being obscenely picky about what cat food he would eat and his self proclaimed 'king of the library' demeanor.  Even his rare condition that affected his digestive system contributed to Dewey's distinctiveness.  This is a cat I wish I could have had the chance to meet!

All in all, this is well written, appropriately descriptive book about a really heartwarming subject.  I think it is something almost anyone could read and enjoy, and I would definitely recommend reading it if you love animals or stories that tug at your heartstrings.


Anonymous said...

I just got this book yesterday. Glad to see you liked it.

Kaye said...

This is going on the list tbr also. Your review made it sound interesting. When I first read about it, I kind of fluffed it off but it seems everyone likes it.