Book Reviews · Quick Reads · World Book Night

Book Review: Street Cat Bob

street cat bobThursday 23rd April is World Book Night, and members of the Information Store will be in the StartUp Lounge giving away books for free to reluctant readers. See our post here for more information.

One of the books available this year is Street Cat Bob by James Bowen, a Quick Reads version of the bestselling book A Street Cat Named Bob. Quick Reads are short books in clear language that are designed for readers who might have found it hard to get into reading. If you don’t manage to get a copy of Street Cat Bob on Thursday (apparently it is this year’s most requested World Book Night book!), we have ten copies in the QUICK READS section at 823.9 for you to borrow.

Bob often rides around on James’s shoulders

Street Cat Bob is James Bowen’s story about his time living homeless on the streets and in sheltered housing. An ex-musician and recovering drug-addict, James was busking to earn enough to live on when he found a ginger cat sitting in the sheltered housing block he was living in at the time. He called the cat Bob (after a character in the TV show Twin Peaks), and looked after him, using some of the little money he had to take Bob to the vets because he was injured and starving. He and Bob became firm friends and Bob started to come with James when he went busking, sitting on his shoulders or in his guitar case. Bob and James were making a lot of friends who would have walked right past if James hadn’t had Bob with him, but some run-ins with the law meant that James knew he had to stop busking in case he got arrested and couldn’t look after Bob any more.

One of the best things about writing this was I got to look up lots of adorable pictures of Bob and James!
One of the best things about writing this was I got to look up lots of adorable pictures of Bob and James!

He started to work on staying off drugs and became a Big Issue seller, all because he wanted to make sure he could take care of his cat. James is now a best-selling author, but his story shows that he went through some tough times to get there. It’s really difficult reading about the time when he was homeless and the time he spent addicted to heroin, but his relationship with Bob is really special. If you want to read the true story of how a friendship between an animal and a human can help both of them, Street Cat Bob is inspiring and sweet.

Find it in our QUICK READS section at 823.9.

If you want to learn more…

Learn more about the serious issues of drug abuse and homelessness in It Happened to Me: Drug Addict (BOOK ZONE 362.293) and Homeless (BOOK ZONE 363.59) and Drugs (BOOK ZONE 362.293) from the ‘Life Files’ series. ‘Life Files’ and ‘It Happened to Me’ aim to tell the stories of people who have dealt with these issues themselves so their experiences can potentially teach and help other people in similar situations.

Read all about our World Book Night event here.

The World Book Night website has lots of information about how you can get involved and the books on offer this year. Plus, if you have received a book from a giver, you can complete a survey on their Impact page and be in the running to win some shopping vouchers!

Read more about the work of The Big Issue Foundation and how it helps people like James here.

If you feel personally affected by any of the issues raised in this post and want someone to talk to about them, contact the Wellbeing Zone on


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