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on 26 April 2017
I loved this charming, heartwarming story. Both James and Bob were initially in a bad way. With James's nurturing of this little street cat he brought him back to good health. In turn, Bob's loyalty paid wonderful dividends in an unimaginable way, bringing good fortune to James whose life of drug dependency really changed. He is now happy and settled with Bob and the support of family and friends. Long may he be so.

I first read about James and Bob in 'The Big Issue' and this prompted me to see the film and buy a book (on kindle). How glad I am to have been touched by this incredible tale and to learn of such a positive outcome.
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on 30 May 2015
This is a wonderfully light and heart warming true story about the benefit of animals in terms of therapy and responsibility. It also shows, very early, on how expensive owning a pet can be and the wonderful work our animal charities do. The sacrificial payment James had to make for Bob’s medication would have been difficult for anyone, let alone someone who was living from day to day. This is a wonderful example of James’s compassion and altruism.

I love James’s naive attitude that people must feel grateful that they haven’t suffered misfortune and ended up on the streets. This is how society should react, but the reality of the material aspirational individual is the common term ‘benefit scroungers.’

It is lovely that Bob attracts so much attention on the streets, when James went busking and that people, mainly women, bought him presents and knitted him things. I have to say, that would be me if I saw him!

The book highlights the problems of living on the streets, whether that is busking or selling the Big Issue. This is where CCTV becomes a benefit and source of protection for the vulnerable. Equally there is the problem of isolation and who do you turn to for support in a crisis, especially if the police want to detain you overnight. I like the fact that the story explains the myths surrounding Big Issue sellers. The fact that they don’t have to be living on the streets, you can be in temporary housing. There are also rules around drinking, begging and approaching people, as well as assigned pitches.

I cried when James lost Bob – twice! Fortunately this cat is not daft and can find safety when needed and all’s well that ends well. James talks about Bob being his reward for doing good, but I think Bob is the reason for doing good and the reward is being drug free.
I understand there are other books in the series and I look forward to reading them.
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on 8 August 2017
This book was recommended to me, and not particularly being a cat fan, I wasn't overly keen, but gave it a go anyway. I enjoyed it! It is written in an honest and simplistic style, reminding me of Lion- A Long Journey Home in the sense that it is a true and fascinating story written in a raw and humble way. I would never have been interested to see the film, prior to reading the book, but now I'm keen to download it tonight and enjoy it alongside a nice glass of wine. Incidentally, I will now ALWAYS buy a Big Issue or at the least spare a few pence when I see a seller. I had no real idea of its purpose and genuine contribution to helping people who are brave enough to look for help and stick with it, come rain, hail or shine (or violence and abuse!). It is admirable! I have nothing but admiration for James Bowen who slipped into a living hell, which I imagine is so easy to do if you fall upon that path, but then had the resilience to actively look for solutions, accept help and live through the toughest times in order to achieve his goal of health and happiness. It is an inspirational tale, well worth telling. Who knows how many people
could be inspired to take the journey to recovery.
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on 20 August 2017
Such a heart-warming book, I loved it. I am not an animal person but this book was recommended to me and I'm so glad I read it. It gives a real insight into life on the streets and one man's attempt to leave them behind him. James is a likeable, kind man who has ended up in this situation because of a variety of reasons, he explains his situation without pity, and I really felt for him, especially how he explained his reasons for getting involved in drugs. His relationship with the stray who befriends him is really touching. It gave me a real insight into the difficulty of coming off methadone and drug dependency too. There are also many light-hearted moments too, and some of his adventures made me smile. A really enjoyable read.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 December 2016
I resisted the hype for quite some time but finally caved in and bought this to read. And despite the fact that it is written without verve or gusto, the straight forward honest style meant that I finished this in two sittings.

There are very few books written with such open hearted honesty and very quickly you find yourself entirely on the author's side willing him to succeed. And for someone such as myself who mostly certainly has few soft leanings is quite an achievement. This is probably down to the way the author does not ask for pity. He acknowledges his own failings - despite some tough times as a kid - and finds within himself a determination to pull himself clear of his spiral of self destruction.

Drugs of course feature in this tale as they do sadly in many hopeless situations. Bowen admits his problem and guides us through the rehabilitation process in a way that thankfully avoids the grotesque used to shock in some other autobiographies. Once again this process is one of humility and grit.

Through this is of course Bob. The cat that makes Bowen take the final steps towards a more stable lifestyle and one that is drug free. Bob is clearly a remarkable cat but most of all he gives back to the author hope and a reason to succeed.

Along the way we learn a bit about life on the street and just how hard it is. And whilst buying the Big Issue has never been on my list of things I would ever contemplate from now on I'm going to buy the odd one because it does seem to make a difference.

Overall a book that ultimately is about hope and redemption. Well worth a read.
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on 29 June 2013
This book is not just another cat story but a human story too. We meet James at the start of the book when he is trying to get his life back on track after sleeping rough and being addicted heroin.
James finds a stray cat outside his flat one night and takes pity on it, nursing it back to health and then realising he has grown attached to it decides to let it stay with him on a permanent basis. James and Bob then become inseparable and together they begin to heal each other's lives.
James Bowen was a very honest in the book and it was hard hitting about the realities of life busking, selling The Big Issue whilst struggling with taking methadone and trying to come off this as well. The book shows the healing power that having an animal can have because you are no longer thinking about yourself all the time.
Not only did Bob help to heal James (and maybe save his life) but James helped to heal Bob after his early life on the streets.
At times the book brought tears to my eyes but at other times it made me laugh.
A fantastic book, certainly not just for cat lovers, as the human story here is just as important as the cat's story. It is a story of how humans (and cats) can triumph over adversity. A must read!
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on 12 January 2017
Wonderful, everything i have is great xx
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on 12 September 2017
Cute story, easy to read. I much enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone who want's a feel good, easy read that still teaches you something about society, and the life that recovering addicts and abandoned cats face. I bought it cus I wanted to read about the cat, and most of the pages focuses on Bob.
The guy doesn't know all that much about cats though, so don't necessarily take any cat behavioural advice form him ^_^.
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on 16 January 2016
I had already read a few pages of the paperback book owned by a friend before buying this as an E-book for my Kindle. It didn't take too long to read but I got to know about the author pretty quickly and the life he has led as a homeless person. This is a very easy book to read; it reads almost like a journal in terms of the information set out but more so it is easy to fall in love with Bob the cat and all the while identifying on the life that James has led, particularly if you have ever spoken to any homeless person before who has led a similar life.

More so since I used to live in London in the 1990s, it brought back the memories of particular areas that I know such as that of Covent Garden and Angel. As a musician, I know the busking areas well and it was good to read another perspective.

This is a great little book that keeps me involved all the time, rather like a fly on the wall and always wanting to know what the next adventures of Bob and James will be like around the corner. The stories of how Bob soon becomes accustomed to James is particularly sweet and rewarding; you don't have to be a cat owner to read this book and there are some humourous parts as well as the reality of how sad this real story has been. It is a journey worth taking if you have an ounce of humanity. (c)NR2 2016
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on 23 August 2017
Having just watched the film I thought it was about time I read the book about James and Bob. I found this book engrossing and read it straight through. The story was moving, enchanting, thought-provoking and opens up the world of life on the streets of London in the most compelling way. James's relationship with Bob is something so special and profound that it is difficult to avoid the idea that Bob's appearance in James's life is like angelic intervention. James also describes his experiences of withdrawal from heroin and methadone in a vivid and unforgettable way. A very moving book which fully deserves its enormous success.
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