Sunday, 24 October 2010

Book Review - Homer's Odyssey

Author : Gwen Cooper

Paperback : 299 pages
ISBN : 0385343981
(ISBN 13 :9780385343985)
My Rating : ★★★☆☆

Book Description : The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen's veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who'd been abandoned. It was love at first sight. 

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an "underachiever." But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen's life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night. But it was Homer's unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that transformed Gwen's life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized that Homer had taught her the most  valuable lesson of all: Love isn't something you see with your eyes.

My Thoughts : I never read an animal based book before.
The reason why is the same as why I don't watch any animal based movies.
They're too damn emotional for me to handle.
But this book looked promising somehow, and I already fell in love with the book just by reading the short description on a website.

Unfortunately, this book had all the elements I don't like when reading a "memoire," I've only read one and that was enough to convince me that it was not my type of book. But I have to say it was just the last few chapters that I could've lived without reading and the rest was pretty fantastic.
If you are a fellow animal lover, I think it's hard not to fall in love with this cat.

It will be more easier for me to explain how I felt by sharing passages from this book.
So, here it goes.

Favorite Quotes and Phrases

It never occurred to me to meet the pet in question first, to see if he was "special" or whether there was some sort of unique bond between  us. My philosophy when it came to pets was much like that of having children: you got what you got, and you loved them unconditionally regardless of whatever their personalities or flaws turned out to be.

(I know this is long, but please take 5 minutes to read this one, you won't regret it.)
     The other thing I realized was that, while he seemed loving, he wasn't scared or desperate to be loved, the way you would expect a kitten-or even a person-who'd experienced nothing but pain, hunger, and fear to be. Nor was he hostile and defensive, a kitten who'd let a hard life stomp all the love right out of him. He was merely curious and affectionate. It was as if there was some innate source of courage within him, some inborn willingness to engage the world openly and joyfully, that even all the suffering and hardship he'd been through hadn't taken away from him.
     It was a staggering concept for me at the time. I had been dumped, forced to move out of my home, and was having financial problems-and I'd consequently developed an unfortunate tendency to approach life as if it were a grim struggle, to allow self-pity to consume me whenever I lost some of those struggles.
     But there were this cat, whose ordeals made my own worst days seem like a week at Disney World, and his attitude upon meeting me appeared to be, Hi! You seem goodhearted and fun. Don't you find that people generally are goodhearted and fun? 
     It probably sounds like I'm about to contradict what I said earlier, that I ended up adopting Homer because I thought there was something special about him. It wasn't that, though. Not exactly.
     What happened was that I caught a glimpse of something I desperately needed to believe in at that point in my life. I wanted to believe there could be something within you that was so essential and so courageous that nothing-no boyfriend, no employer, no trauma-could tarnish or rob you of it. And if you had that unbreakable core, not only would it always be yours, but even in your darkest moments others would see it in you, and help you out before the worst came to the absolute worst.
     Or, as my grandmother used to put it, "God helps those who help themselves." If I recognized all that within this kitten now, and took him home because of it, then I would be proving my own theory right.
     So I didn't adopt Homer because he was cute and little and sweet, or because he was helpless and he needed me. I adopted him because when you think you see something so fundamentally worthwhile in someone else, you don't look for the reasons-like bad timing or a negative bank balance-that might keep it our of your life. You commit to being strong enough to build your life around it, no matter what.
     In doing so, you begin to become the thing you admire.

A friend once asked me why it was that stories about animals and their heroism-a cat that pulls her kitten from a burning building, say, or a dog that walks across fifty miles of Iraqi desert to reunite with the soldier who fed him-are so compelling.
I didn't have an immediate answer, beyond observing that I also loved those stories. A few days later, though, it occurred to me that we love them because they're the closest thing we have to material evidence of an objective moral order-or, to put it another way, they're the closest thing we have to proof of the existence of God. They seem to prove that the things that matter to and move us the most-things like love, courage, loyalty, altruism-aren't just ideas we made up from nothing. To see them demonstrated in other animals proves they're real things, that they exist in the world independently of what humans invent and tell each other in the form of myth or fable.

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