Readers around the world who have taken delight in the adventures of Bob the Street Cat and his human James Bowen, will be delighted to continue their literary adventure with the duo with A Gift from Bob: How a Street Cat Helped One Man Learn the Meaning of Christmas. New readers to the duo will quickly become enchanted with the life lessons shared in this new release. This is the third book by the duo and is perfectly timed before the holiday season with a release date of Tuesday, October 13 by St. Martin’s Press and, at 172-pages, it is the perfect type of literary material for commuters or voracious readers alike.
Bowen recaps the Christmas of 2010 which was the last one he and Bob spent on the streets of London busily selling The Big Issue magazine to commuters at a Tube station in Islington and busking with his guitar in Covent Garden. The author recaps his isolated childhood growing up as an only child while being shuttled by his single mother between England and Australia, his decline into drug usage, and his aversion to the Christmas season as a result of trying family circumstances. Bowen freely acknowledges that there are no excuses; he’s merely filling in the gaps of what led him to being an addict on the streets.
With the introduction of a street wise ginger tabby by the name of Bob in 2007, Bowen’s life took an upswing as he found something to care for other than himself. A Gift from Bob alternates between 2007 flashbacks of Bowen living rough on the streets and 2010 when the author and his cat had found a little flat to call their own. The challenges Bowen encountered that brutally frigid winter included coming up with enough money to keep the basics on like electric and gas to keep them warm and food from spoiling in the refrigerator; Bowen also feels pressure in finding the perfect gift for his friend Bella.
Just when things look dark, the fortunes of the duo take an upswing and Bowen learns an important lesion about giving and receiving. He finds value in thanking those regular customers that patronize him by buying The Big Issue each week at the Islington tube station and is moved and humbled by the outpouring of love and support shown to him in return. Bowen takes a good, hard look at the people surrounding him with their faces showing strain as they are laden down with last minute gifts yet still needing to find the perfect item or of the defeat at having to prepare a multi-course meal for 14 people. Some of these people share with Bowen how envious they are of his simple lifestyle with just he and his cat Bob in their flat: two creatures spending the day together and totally content.
Bowen learns the important lesson of gratitude and the joy of giving to others. A Gift from Bob is being released at an important time to remind people, before they embark down the path of crass Christmas capitalism, about what is the true meaning of the season as was once mentioned in The American magazine (vol 28; 1889):
“…to give up one’s very self – to think only of others – how to bring the greatest happiness to others – that is the true meaning of Christmas…”
A Gift from Bob is an easy read and moves along quickly; it is perfect for commuters and, while it would be ideal for a stocking stuffer, it ideally should be read in advance of the Christmas season.
- Title: A Gift from Bob: How a Street Cat Helped One Man Learn the Meaning of Christmas
- Author: James Bowen
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
- ISBN: 978-1-250-07733-2
- Release Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2015
- Pages: 172
- Price: $22.99