Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Cat, a Town, A Life: a Book Review

A review of Dewey: the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron, with Bret Witter (Grand Central, 2008).

If you love cats, the book jacket photo alone will entice you. However, this book is about more than just a cat. Dewey the cat is a "catalyst" (pun intended) for the survival of a small Iowa town and a major force in the life of the author.

Dewey (full name: Dewey Readmore Books), only a few weeks old, was stuffed into the book return slot at the Spencer, Iowa, Public Library on a very cold night. The frostbitten kitten was discovered the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother and survivor herself. From then on, Dewey resided in and ruled the library.

Dewey was a special cat who seemed to know how to charm and comfort everyone, from young library patrons to the entire staff to the local press and especially Vicki, who became his champion and chief companion.

Library patronage increased as Dewey became everyone's special friend. He attracted national and international press attention, even a movie crew from Japan. For nineteen years, Dewey was the symbol of a reviving and surviving library and town. He put Spencer, Iowa, on the map and improved Vicki's problem-filled life considerably. How? Just by being Dewey.

As a cat lover and former small twon girl, I couldn't put this book down. Of course I cried at the end, as I have at the end of every one of my own cats' lifespans, but I'm happy to have met Dewey through this book's pages. He was, indeed, special.

Copyright 2009 by Marlys Marshall Styne
Photo courtesy of

1 comment:

Lydia said...

I'm so excited to read this post because my sister sent me the book for my birthday earlier this month! I don't want to begin reading it until I'm finished with the book I'm into half-way and it's killing me because Dewey looks great.

This is strange: I just left your other blog and there's a link in my comments to a short clip of our new kitten, Willow. You'll love her!