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

4.8 out of 5 stars 970 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 25, 2009
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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.

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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: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (970 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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As a cat, I often find myself considering books on or about cats with trepidation. Regularly, you will come across an author who claims to be an expert on cats - claiming to understand our behaviors, and giving us a voice we didn't ask for. On the occasion that you do find a decent writer who does seem to understand our complex and varied nature, the book will inevitably end with a painful reminder of our own mortality - while this is of course a very useful exercise for all species to become introspective and meditate on the value of our lives - it is simply too much to ask a cat to face this hovering specter of death each and every time we open a book on our species.

Fortunately for everyone, we have Gwen Cooper. Gwen has written a nonfiction book entitled "Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat".

Homer is a true cat's cat. Despite losing his eyesight at a young age, Homer turns this disability into a superpower, never once worrying about what he is missing out on, or fearful of the unknown. Instead, Homer regularly vanquishes resolute foes (such as the common house-fly) by leaping from a standstill and capturing them five feet in mid-air. When placed into a new and unfamiliar territory, Homer will simply proceed along the boundaries of the walls to map out his environment.

While Homer's daily achievements and successes are wonderful, the truly amazing feats come later, such as chasing off a man who breaks into Gwen's apartment in the middle of the night.
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