Top critical review
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Encouraging Story about Bob and James, lacks a little responsibility...
on January 9, 2015
Every review I've read for this book is a rave review, people seem to love the endearing Bob and his owner James. As I was reading through this book I kept wondering where the James was that everybody seemed to love, because I just wasn't seeing the same thing in him that everybody else was seeing. I finished it last night and Bob was still the only endearing one to me.
I appreciate the story and I was entertained by the book, no doubt. Bob makes the story worth reading and the level of care these two share for each other is beautiful. I even appreciate the fact that Bob motivated James to turn his life in a better direction, which is the whole point of the book, really. This book is worth your time to read, in my opinion.
However, slight spoilers from the book to follow so if you don't want to ruin anything, don't continue to read this post!
James talks about his addiction, his homelessness, and the negative events in his life as if these were things that happened to him, not things that happened as a result of his life choices. Yes, he is taking responsibility for it now and I don't mean to be critical of that but there's a difference between being a victim and making bad choices. In line with that type of attitude, when he's busking on the streets, cops chase him away or other figures of authority tell him he can't do that there and he'll go and hide for a little bit and then return to continue. He mentioned that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong and disregarded it. Eventually this attitude got him picked up by the cops and still, he played it off as him being a victim. Not that he had actually been doing something wrong and had been warned multiple times, he just saw it as a personal attack on him.
There was another section that bothered me a bit. A woman offered Bob a catnip toy, but James was hesitant to let him have it because of his own experiences with drugs and addiction. What? Seriously? It just seemed like a cheap mechanism to bring up his drug troubles again. What does he think Bob was going to do? Score some nip on the street?
Overall, this was an endearing and encouraging story. It was wonderful to see James find the motivation he needed to change his life and make it better. If you're a cat lover, even better because Bob will remind you about all the wonderful things that cats can do to make the lives of their owners happier. I guess just don't get distracted by how amazing Bob is while James is talking about himself. The overall message of his story is a great one, but his perspective is a little flawed.