Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (Review)

Book cover for "Dewey" by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter.Title: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Authors: Vicki Myron and Bret Witter

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 304

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Purchased from Chapters

From the cover:

How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can’t even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey’s story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

This was a really cute read.

That’s really the most authentic and useful thing that I can say about Dewey. It wasn’t action-packed, and it wasn’t an investigative look at some deep-seated social justice issue; it was a book about a cat.

It was a good book about a cat – it really got into your emotions, and situated the story of Dewey Readmore Books within the social and economic climate of a particular city in Iowa going through a particular set of challenges. It was a heart-warming story about a cat and the town that grew to love him, and – most interesting for me – the library that became a community hub because of him.

As a cat-owner (and lover), it was a really nice read for me in terms of hearing about the personality of a cat, something that I truly believe is different for each one, like people. Dewey seemed like a very unique brand of feline, and it let me learn a bit more about the possibilities for library cats and the ways that they can be relevant and useful in modern times.

I really felt for the reader and her cat Dewey throughout the book. I was happy and sad just as Myron – and the people around her – were. I enjoyed learning about Spencer, Iowa and about Myron’s personal story, especially as I got to see them intertwine with Dewey’s story.

The appeal that Dewey has for the reader is more about the emotional connection and the overal “feel good” story. It’s not necessarily anything profound, although it could be seen that way for some. I’m not going to say that it’s a must-read, but if you’re into cats, or libraries, or social journalism, then this might be the book for you!


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