Orsolya's Reviews > Homer's Odyssey

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper
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's review
Aug 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: animals, library, wishlist, memoir
Read from August 01 to 03, 2011

I have to be forthright with you, my fellow Goodread-ers. I generally like animals more than I like people. There, I’ve said it! I will also admit this: I DO have a cat. My 7-year old Calico Tortie, Agora, is the highlight of my life and only shares my given affections with my boyfriend. She has been through thick-and-thin, sat in a U-Haul truck with me for 5 days as I moved from Ohio to Los Angeles, was my comfort while I lived with my abusive, drug addict ex, and has been the most solid thing in life for the past seven years. I love her. She is my best friend.

So, what does all this mushy cat-loving mean? That, I was of course drawn to a non-fiction tale about a blind cat and his owner. This book practically yelled, “Read me!” when I first spotted it at the store.

I basically knew the premise before I even read a word. As with all animal tales, I expected the skeleton of the owner acquiring a pet, the pet doing heroic deeds, and then the pet dies. Immediately in the foreword from the vet from whom Gwen Cooper acquired Homer; I already had tears in my eyes. Uh oh! Either I’m PMS-ing and overly-emotional or this book is going to require a hefty tissue box, I thought.

Homer’s Odyssey is not JUST about a cat. It is an inspirational piece which includes insights into lessons everyone should take note of. Perhaps these are lessons which we have not yet experienced or perhaps you need a refresher course; but these are the types of lesson (and books) which come into your life at the right place and time, knowing that YOU need it.

Make sure to grab tissues, because this book genuinely receives the award for the most times I cried during a single book. If the chapter which describes Homer protecting Gwen from an intruder in her apartment doesn’t make you cry or at least want to coddle Homer with a million cans of tuna, then I don’t know what will. Other tear jerkers? The recap of Cooper’s experience with 9/11 and her cats being alone in her apartment near Ground Zero for several days is especially moving. The mixture of raw human survival and compassion which we will forever associate with that fall day added to the worry of a mother to her children (because we cat owners can agree that the cats are our children); was one which messed up my eye makeup faster than I put it on. There are also some romantic teary moments involving Gwen’s husband and a birthday card and also their wedding reception.

Fear not about the writing style of the author. Although many pet-owner books try to speak to the reader on an understandable, friendly level and yet come off as either hillbilly with their language skills or completely boring; Gwen Cooper successfully uses linguistic language and techniques with a smooth edge which displays her marketing background and yet is as accessible as if you were on a lunch date with her and just chatting about her cat.

I do have to complain, however, that some of the charm was evaporated when many of the chapters were too predictable with each following the pattern of, “Describe Homer story and then end chapter with lesson learned”. Plus, like all animal books, Homer’s Odyssey ended with Homer becoming sick and Gwen’s worries that he would die (but he made a recovery). I already knew Homer didn’t pass, as I have watched a video interviewing the author; but this near-death ending was much too conventional and is overdone in these types of books.

Granted, I related wholly to Gwen due to our both having a marketing background, her Type A personality traits, Homer’s similarities to my own cat (playing fetch, liking plastic bags, enjoying Pounce brand treats, etc); but despite the shared traits this book was enjoyable and doesn’t require you to relate to her on that level.

As long as you have a belief in humanity, a belief in love, a love for animals, and a box of tissues; you WILL love this book. Kleenex brand should send Cooper a thank-you.
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Reading Progress

08/01/2011 page 31
08/03/2011 page 304
100.0% "This book gets the award for most times I've cried during a single book. Review to follow shortly..."
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Amelia (new) - added it

Amelia Most animals are nicer people than most people, this is very true. My cat is totally the light of my life too. I love her to absolute pieces so I know just what you mean! I can imagine this being quite the tearfest.

Orsolya :)

Wow, my cat was only 7 when I wrote this review! She turns 11 on April 12th!

message 3: by Amelia (new) - added it

Amelia Time flies, doesn't it? Mine'll be 14 on April 25th. I expect she'll be getting a new collar and a fish supper lol.

Orsolya Aww that's cute that they are both April babies.

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message 5: by Amelia (new) - added it

Amelia Yep, nearly birthday twins. I didn't know even half of those... clearly I am an uninformed cat lover!

Orsolya Well, now you know and can pass it on! ;)

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