Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Street Cat, Bob: Love and Redemption

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The little book by James Bowen, A Street Cat named Bob is a remarkable tale of love, hope and redemption. The author James Bowen, a drug addict and in the jargon of British social welfare office, a substance abuser, finds a large ginger cat near his dwelling. The adventures of this duo occupies most of the  book. The author has fallen through the cracks of western society and has ended on the streets of London without a job and little skill,l which can translate into dependable employment. So "busking" for a living is the only career choice that  available. The Cat and James set out by tube to Coventry Garden where James has a designated spot busking, playing music for voluntary donations. Since panhandling is forbidden by law in most western counties, busking invites little attention from the law, provided of course there it is done in a designated place and there is no complaint of anticancer James earns at best little more than what was essential to keep .his nose out of trouble. Petty theft and drug addiction were already on his record and James now has a cat to feed and support. The bond between the two develops into a stable and mutually enriching relationship and now James Bowen had a purpose to his life, something he never had earlier. His life settled down to a routine of busking in London and the petty quarrels and jealousies his success and the attention paid to Bob his cat evoked amongst the other derelicts on the streets of London is brought out well.

The love between the two transforms Bob from a drug addict to a more responsible human being and the book also documents the reconciliation between James and his mother who after her marriage to Nick seems to have drifted away from James. The spiritual anchor of Jmaes' life is Bob and he gradually helps him find his feet again.
For most readers, the tale of Bob and James may sound surreal. Can a street cat make sucha huge difference to a person's life. As someone who has seen and experienced the rougher side of life, I can say that animals do bring a strange kind of unconditional love to their relationship with their owners that is really unsettling at times. James Bowen was down and out in London, barely eking out a bare living by busking in the posh areas of Londan, loving from day to day, taking life one day at a time and when Bob entered his life all that changed. He had a purpose to live anf that made all the difference. Life Richard Parker in the Life of Pi, who became Pi's spiritual anchor in the Pacific Ocean, Bob was to James.

I liked this book immensely and I too am fond of animals and so read the book with interest. The message of redemption comes out strongly in the book.

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