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Homer's Odyssey Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 25, 2009

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 25, 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038534385X
  • ASIN: B007K4EYOM
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (627 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,115,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
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.

Amazon Exclusive: Gwen Cooper on Homer's Odyssey

I never wanted to be a writer of non-fiction. While I can honestly say that I dreamt of being a writer from my earliest discovery of books, memoirs held no interest for me. The stories I loved—and devoured with a single-minded intensity that charmed my English teachers while causing my math teachers to gnash their teeth in frustration—were stories that were larger than life, that played out on a grand scale. I read fairy tales, mythology (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Native American, you name it), epic poems, novels about soldiers, pirates, adventurers, explorers, heroes, magicians, revolutionaries, beautiful damsels, dashing cads, romances, tragedies, comedies—everything, in short, that struck me as just a touch more interesting than real life ever seemed to be.

It amazes me now that, for years, I never thought about Homer as being the hero of his own story. I knew that he was extraordinary, I knew that everybody who ever met him was full of questions—wanting to know why and how. But he was also just my cat, the goofy little guy who jumped around in circles when I came home at night, who loved to chase around stuffed toys, insisted on getting his fair share of tuna if I was making a tuna sandwich, and curled up in a tight ball on my left knee whenever I sat at the computer to email friends or finish up work projects.

The idea of writing about Homer didn’t occur to me until Laurence, my husband—who was then my boyfriend—met him for the first time and wanted to know (as most people do) how it was that Homer ended up blind. When I told him how Homer had been abandoned shortly after birth, how he’d been near death until he was brought in to my veterinarian, how the price of saving his life had been the loss of his vision, and how he’d still nearly met an inglorious end in an animal shelter because nobody wanted to adopt him until finally my vet called me—when he heard all that, Laurence’s response was, "He’s like Daredevil, like a comic book superhero. He has an origin story and everything."

Laurence was quite pleased with this analogy, and loved to expound upon it. When he observed that Homer was braver, faster, and more agile than my two sighted cats, or when he saw Homer leap five feet straight into the air to catch a buzzing fly in mid-flight, he would talk about Homer’s "superpowers." When I told him how Homer had once single-handedly chased off a burglar who broke into my apartment in the middle of the night, Laurence said, “You’re a storyteller—why don’t you tell some of these stories?”

It’s impossible to quantify or define the ways in which Homer has moved me, inspired me, and flat-out entertained me over the years. But perhaps the greatest gift he’s given me is the ability to find the heroism and grandeur of my favorite stories smack-dab in the middle of my everyday life. Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty of action and larger-than-life adventure tales to be found in these pages. But Homer is extraordinary even when he’s at his most ordinary. No aspiring writer in love with adventure stories could have asked for better material.

I always wanted to be a writer, but I never wanted to be a writer of non-fiction. Sometimes, things work out differently than you think they will. Sometimes life picks you up and drops you in the middle of a story that’s better than any you could ever have imagined. Sometimes you don’t know what’s missing until you find it. Homer is the living proof.—Gwen Cooper

From Publishers Weekly

Cooper had every intention of saying no to the veterinarian who asked her if she was interested in adopting a four-week-old stray kitten with a particular handicap. She was fresh off a bad breakup, working a low-paying job and living rent-free in a friend's bedroom—plus she was worried about the social implications of adding one cat to the two she had already adopted: The neighborhood kids will... say things like 'That's where Old Widow Cooper, the cat lady, lives.' But as soon as she picked up the tiny kitten and he started to purr, she caved. She settled on a name and brought Homer home. His intrepid explorations of his new environs quickly challenged Cooper's expectations of a blind cat. And through 12 years, six moves, several boyfriends and a showdown with a burglar, this tender and affecting book reveals Homer's lessons about love and acceptance—and how he transformed Cooper into the woman she had always wanted to be. Photos. (Aug. 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Gwen Cooper is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir "Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat" and the novels "Love Saves the Day" and "Diary of a South Beach Party Girl." She is a frequent speaker at shelter fundraisers; donates 10% of her royalties from "Homer's Odyssey" to organizations that serve abused, abandoned, and disabled pets; and serves on the Advisory Boards of Tabby's Place in Ringoes, NJ and Tree House Humane in Chicago. Gwen lives in Manhattan with her husband, Laurence. She also lives with her three perfect cats--Homer, Clayton, and Fanny--who aren't impressed with any of it.

Customer Reviews

I would highly recommend this book to all cat lovers.
NH Cat Mom
Gwen ties her own story of love and self-discovery to the life lessons that Homer teaches her.
M. M.
This is not only a great story about an amazing cat, but it is VERY WELL WRITTEN!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

184 of 188 people found the following review helpful By M. M. VINE VOICE on August 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This nonfiction account of the life of Homer the cat is truly heartwarming. Gwen Cooper's writing is superb; it's so warm and personal, I felt like I was reading a story written by a close friend. (For this reason, I'm inclined to refer to her simply as "Gwen" in the rest of my review!) So engaging is this book that I could not put it down and eagerly finished all 300 pages within 24 hours. There's action, adventure, laughter, tears, danger, romance, suspense -- all the "essential" elements of bestselling fiction, but this is not fiction: every part of it is true. That's what makes this story so captivating.

Spoiler-free plot summary: A Miami native in her mid-20s, Gwen adopts her third cat, Homer, a very young, blind kitten that no one wanted. From day one, Homer is a spunky, nimble, demonstrative, fearless little cat. The feats he accomplishes are nothing short of amazing. Gwen decides she wants a better life for herself and her cats than her nonprofit job can provide; she works tirelessly and is eventually able to move to New York. Everyone in her life who meets Homer loves him, and vice versa (with very few exceptions, which you will read about). Gwen ties her own story of love and self-discovery to the life lessons that Homer teaches her.

For those who are extremely sensitive to animal suffering (as I am), you don't need to worry about any abuse, graphic details, or death in this book. When it comes to Homer's blindness, Gwen dispassionately states only the facts that are essential to the story and to the reader's sense of Homer's personality and agility. However, you will probably need a tissue at a few points, as people's sheer kindness, love, and generosity towards Gwen, and particularly Homer, are powerfully touching.
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Phyllis Staff TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Gwen Cooper writes with heart. And that's really all you need to know to dive into her tale of love and growth. For whether you love cats or not (and I do), Gwen's tale is a story that will reach into your heart and stretch your soul.

There's no doubt that Homer, Gwen's eyeless cat, is extraordinary. Life in the dark would have appeared to predestined him to a life lived in quiet corners, but such was not to be. He jumped from heights into the unknown, and, as he did, taught Gwen to act freely and fearlessly in the face of the unknown. How could a tiny, blind cat terrorize a burglar/rapist? And yet, he did. How could he understand human emotions and react to human commands? And yet, he did.

Homer's Odyssey is a tale of an extraordinary cat, but it is so much more than that. It is a tale of growth, of learning to see what's inside (and it's not always beautiful) rather than being blinded by the illusory outside. It is a tale of becoming truly human through contact with a non-human species. It is a tale of acting on "blind" faith, and profiting through those actions. It is a tale of learning to see through the eyes of love.

I have seldom read a book I found so touching and so meaningful. Especially in these turbulent times, you'll find strength through the odyssey of a tiny cat and his mistress.

Five stars!
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Rhoda M. Palmateer on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Well, if the truth be known, Homer IS a special cat. I laughed out loud through most of this heartwarming book. And I even shed a few tender tears. The book is hilarious and unlike one reviewer, I found nothing preachy about it at all. I was on the edge of my seat while reading of her efforts to get back to the apartment after the World Trade Center tragedy. If you liked "Marley and Me", and "Dewey The Library Cat", you will totally love this book and you will shed no sad tears. I had difficulty putting the book down. I have a 3-legged cat and I think she is special. But Homer surpasses everything. This blind cat can really see his way right into one's heart.
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By BermudaOnion VINE VOICE on November 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When a two-week old kitten was found and brought into Patricia Khuly's veterinary office, she refused to euthanize him, in spite of the fact that she had to remove his eyes because of a severe eye infection. The kitten bounced back well from the surgery and seemed to have a sweet spirit. Dr. Khuly had worked with blind cats before and knew this one could live a full life, since it had never seen and wouldn't know what it was missing out on. She couldn't find anyone to take this kitten and, out of desperation, called Gwen Cooper.

Gwen agreed to take a look at the kitten, but made no promises, since she already owned two cats. Upon seeing the kitten, Gwen was smitten and agreed to take him, thus changing her life forever. She named the tiny little kitten Homer after the Greek poet. I admire Gwen and her willingness to adopt a cat no one else wanted. Homer is a sweet, adventurous cat who loves everyone and sometimes frightens Gwen with his fearlessness.

HOMER'S ODYSSEY by Gwen Cooper is the story of Gwen's life with Homer and her other two cats. As an animal lover, I fell in love with Homer and his sweet, adventurous spirit. He amazed me with his ability to adapt and his love of life.

This book started out with a bang for me, but dragged a little bit by the end. I realize that it was important to know about Gwen's life in order to understand some of what was going on in the life of her cats, but I felt like the end of the book focused on Gwen and her relationship too much. Without Homer, her life wasn't all that different from anyone else's, so the end of the book didn't pull me in the way the beginning did. I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to animal lovers.
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