Homer’s Odyssey – Gwen Cooper (Memoir/Animals)
Yes, it’s another animal memoir book. Yes, you’ll laugh, cry, groan, smile, and sniffle all the way through. But before you sigh and say “I can’t handle it, I know what happens at the end of animal memoirs”, let me forewarn you – and I really don’t consider this a spoiler – that the cat doesn’t die at the end. That’s right, she wrote the memoir while the animal was/is still alive, and thus ends the tale without a final death scene. Happy? I was.
So now that we’ve eliminated that fear, how about the book? Wow. Yes, wow. A young woman adopts a blind (actually, eyeless) kitten that no one else wants… and it turns out to be the most intelligent, active, curious, life-loving cat I’ve ever heard of. This cat took daring leaps from the tops of furniture, loved to roughhouse with other cats and humans, hunted flies by sound (and *always* caught them), and in general, was an incredible testament to how an animal can overcome what we might see as a disability and thrive through it.
Throughout the course of the memoir, I was struck by how vibrant and full of life this little blind cat was. He never knew what it meant to see, and yet that didn’t slow him down even a tiny bit… his world was what it was, and he loved it.
It comes down to this: If a little creature like a blind kitten can take what he’s given in life and make the most of it – love, live, and thrive – what can’t we, as humans do with what life doles out to us?
Because I’m not sure whether my description does the book justice, here’s the product description from the Amazon.ca webpage:
Once in nine lives,
something extraordinary happens…
The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.
Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.
But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.
Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.”
Rating: 5 out of 5