Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter, 271 pages
dewey decimal nonfiction challenge: 636.80929
How adorable is that cat? I had to fight with my girls to pick up the book; both of them tried to read it. They are 9 and 5. The nine year old gave it a great effort and read the Dewey parts. She said she skipped over all the other parts, more on that in a bit. The five year old and I went to the library to get her some cat books to read for herself. Everyone needed a cat book apparently.
I decided to start the Dewey Decimal Nonfiction read with the Dewey book I got in my Hachette box o'books last year. Myron tells the story of how she found Dewey in the book deposit on bitter cold winter morning. The half-frozen kitten immediately loved the people in the library and the library in Spencer, Iowa. The rest of the book follows three main areas: Dewey, small town Iowa during the 1980s and '90s, and Myron's life and family. I enjoyed the book in that order. The Dewey stuff was good, cute as you'd expect. The Iowas stuff was okay and covered some of the same ground as Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. The family stuff seemed out of place as suddenly we are learning about Myron and her daughter's rocky relationship and then the next chapter is the food Dewey ate.
It was my idea of a great nonfiction book - short, easy to read chapters that I could pick up everyday and read while supper was getting ready, giving me a book finished easily in January. A bit of a mixed bag in the reading though. Myron seemed to contradict herself about Dewey: he was just a cat, he didn't do anything great, he was an institution. He loved everyone, he didn't pay any special attention to anyone, he changed the life of so many people, he was just the library cat. I wasn't quite sure what she was trying to say about him. Her love for Dewey certainly came through however, and fellow pet people would most likely enjoy this book. It's that intangible effect pets have on those around them that she was trying to describe, it was hard to pin it down.
He was awfully adorable in that picture.