Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron (with Bret Witter)

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and I definitely don't read about cats, but I do love libraries so I bit the bullet and requested a copy of this book for review- boy am I glad I did! This book is a must-read for anyone who loves cats, libraries, Iowa, or just a feel-good story about normal people working through the hard times.

Found half frozen in the book return slot after the coldest night of the year, Dewey becomes the official cat for the local library in Spencer, Iowa and helps keep people entertained for the next 19 years. As the town reeled from the economic and social impact of the farm crisis of the 1980s, Dewey served as a touchstone, dedicating his energies to those who really needed the love and attention only he could provide.

Author Vicki Myron's love for Spencer and for Dewey shines through every page of this story, and her own inspiring story of overcome a troubled early marriage and finishing her education mirror the story of the town itself. Vicki's tireless dedication to making the Spencer library a vibrant and valuable member of the community speaks volumes; every small town librarian should take heart and find inspiration in her successful efforts.

I loved the anecdotes about Dewey's spreading fame (a Japanese documentary? really?) and his love for rubber bands, but it was the stories of people whose lives were touched by Dewey that really powered the narrative for me. I confess to tearing up at the very end, even though it was clear Vicki made the choice that was best for Dewey. When Dewey died in 2006, his obituary appeared in over 250 newspapers- after reading this book, I understand why...

All in all, I highly recommend this book!


Jeane said...

I really do want to read this book.

jenclair said...

I've read several reviews of this one lately, and they have all been positive. It is on my list!