Monday, February 29, 2016

Cat Book Review: Homer:The Ninth Life Of A Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper


 Writing this book review was hard for me on a number of levels, one of them being an intense emotional involvement with Homer. You see, the first book that I had ever reviewed was Homer's Odyssey   by Gwen Cooper.  When Gwen had contacted me back in 2010 after connecting on Twitter, I was terrified. I had never reviewed ANY book and it was with extreme fear and trepidation that I embarked on the task.  Since then, I have reviewed all of Gwen's books:Love Saves The Day, and Cody had the distinct honor of appearing in Kittenish,  (which was created with the intent of enabling those of us who felt helpless watching the horror of the Nepal earthquakes and the devastation they caused for humans and animals, to do something meaningful.  By purchasing a copy of Kittenish readers helped  the victims of the Nepal earthquakes and their animals).

When Homer passed in the summer of 2013, I was one of millions who were more than heartbroken to hear the devastating news. Homer was the first blind cat I had ever heard of,  and I relished following his  full and amazing life. (Homer was 16 when he passed.)

Gwen Cooper and Homer, Photo Courtesy of Gwen Cooper





Through Gwen's ability to write and touch our souls, I learned about the trials and tribulations of sharing one's life with a black cat, AND a cat who was blind to boot.

I knew that reading:

Cover Photo Courtesy of Gwen Cooper

Was going to be bitter sweet. Yes, I cried. You will too,  As Gwen mentioned in the foreword of Homer:The Ninth Life Of A Blind Wonder Cat, "there were many wonderful times with Homer during those four years after Homer's Odyssey came out, and you'll read those stories here. But there were also some hard times when we lost him, and I wasn't sure I could bear to go through them again."

I wasn't sure if I had the emotional strength to read the sequel. I am glad that I did.

FROM HOMER:The Ninth Life Of A Blind Wonder Cat


The life, loss and legacy of the world’s most-beloved blind cat…
The odds had always been stacked against Homer, the blind kitten nobody  wanted. But destiny took a hand the day he met Gwen Cooper, and with the publication twelve years later of the international best seller Homer’s Odyssey, Homer went from beloved house cat to world-wide star. He became the scourge and darling of the reporters, photographers, videographers, bloggers, and radio hosts who clamored to meet him—dragging his hapless human behind him as he greeted fame with his usual joie de vivre and occasional “catitude.” He became a spokes-cat for the cause of special-needs animals everywhere, and eventually the wise older mentor to the new special-needs kitten who would enter his and Gwen’s lives.
New "fur-sib" Clayton, watching Homer
Photo Courtesy of Gwen Cooper
 Most importantly, Homer taught those who loved him best how to live and die with courage and joy—and left behind a rescue community of “Homer’s Heroes” that continues to save countless lives in his name.
By turns humorous and tender, this beautifully written, 115-page sequel concludes the adventures of Homer the Blind Wonder Cat—the fearless feline who proved that love isn’t something you see with your eyes, that even the smallest of creatures can make a big difference, and that true love lives forever.
What Can You Expect When Reading Homer:The Ninth Life Of A Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper:
"first and foremost, this is a book of stories-stories about a cat who rose from obscurity to fame, who was promoted from barely tolerated baby brother to adored "big kid," and who continues to save the lives of other animals to this day, simply because HE lived and his story was told."

Jackson Galaxy and Homer
Photo Courtesy of Gwen Cooper
Gwen met Jackson Galaxy on the "cat circuit" and became fast friends. The odds are virtually all of you reading this review have struggled with end of life decisions that inevitably we all must make with our pets. It is the most devastating part of living with and loving a pet. Jackson Galaxy offered sage advice to Gwen during Homer's final months that are words that will offer comfort to all of us who have and who WILL face these decisions.  "Taking care of someone means putting them before you. And that means you , in this moment, don't matter. Your sadness doesn't matter....you're a parent with only one job. You have to listen to Homer...."
Yes, I relived the passing of my Angel Bobo, and the tears I shed while reading Homer:The Ninth Life Of A Blind Wonder Cat  were not only for Homer but for my Angel Bobo too. Bobo was 18 when he left this earth, Homer was 16.
Gwen has a style of writing that is raw, real, HUMAN. She takes you on a journey into her life, into her soul, into her heart.  As a result, you will relive some painful moments in your own life with your pet(s). But that's ok. It's necessary, it's LOVE.  The animal, human, pet parent bond we have with our fur babies is profound and deep. There is an element of comfort derived from reading a work by another pet parent who understands that bond. SHE LIVED IT.
 While Bobo wasn't a "special needs" kitty, I rescued him and he NEEDED ME, WE NEEDED EACH OTHER. When he left, a part of me left with him. Reading about Homer brought my Bobo back to me, if only for a few hours. The gift of  the memories of his love warmed my soul. My tears were cathartic. 
Homer's  Gift To Gwen:
"The greatest gift Homer left me with when he left me for good was fresh evidence every day---every single day---of the innate goodness of most people, even when news headlines make it far too easy to conclude otherwise."
"In a very literal way, Homer's passing brought life in its wake. There are countless animals alive today because of Homer's loss...even in his physical absence, Homer's spirit hasn't gone anywhere....as much as I know that if I could wave a magic wand and undo Homer's death, I would do so in a heartbeat---in a nanosecond--I also know that I would never trade any of the things I have in my life today because I loved Homer, and also because I lost him. Not for worlds."
From the blog post I did on August 26, 2013 when I learned of Homer's passing: Homer, THANK YOU for being a most AMAZING YOU, Gwen, thank you for sharing Homer with the world and teaching the public that not only do BLACK CATS make wonderful pets, but BLACK CATS, BLIND CATS and any cat with a disability is just as able to give and receive love as any cat can.
"Homer Licking Chops"
Photo Courtesy of Gwen Cooper

"Eras much gato, Thou wert plenty of cat."



 Purchase links may be found at www.hihomer.com. 
FOLLOW HOMER ON SOCIAL MEDIA

AND NOW ON INSTAGRAM!!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:GWEN COOPER is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat; the novels Love Saves the Day and Diary of a South Beach Party Girl; and the crowd-sourced collection of cat selfies, Kittenish. 100% of the proceeds from which were donated to support animal rescue in Nepal following the 2015 earthquake. She is a frequent speaker at shelter fundraisers and donates 10% of her royalties from Homer's Odyssey to organizations that serve abused, abandoned, and disabled animals. She also manages Homer's ongoing social-media community, which reaches nearly two million cat enthusiasts and rescuers around the world each day.

Gwen lives in Manhattan with her husband, Laurence. She also lives with her two perfect cats--Clayton the Tripod and his litter-mate, Fanny--who aren't impressed with any of it.




In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I was sent a copy of Homer:The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat in exchange for my always honest review. 




41 comments:

  1. This just sounds like an amazing book! We love Homer and Gwen so much.

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  2. I need to read both of the Homer books. I read Love Saves the Day, and it was a great one. Thanks for sharing your review!

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    1. You are welcome!! There aren't going to be too many anymore!

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  3. What a wonderful review Caren - as always. I couldn't even read it without getting teary because like you, I know that "Bobo-kind-of-love" with Sam and I know that many of us are JUST THAT CLOSE to our animals. Certainly Gwen is - Homer lived his time with her and became important to her, and to everyone who knew him. He was a lesson in love - the unconditional kind. The kind that lasts truly forever even after they're gone. Thanks for the review - sounds like a special book.

    Hugs, Pam

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    1. Thanks so much Pam for your kind words. I was thinking of you at times when I wrote this. Yep, you understand the "just that close"....totally. You are most welcome, it IS a special book!!! xoxo

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  4. What a beautiful review. I love all of Gwen's books, and I'm so glad she wrote this one and shared Homer's life after the first book with us.

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    1. Thanks so much Ingrid! I loved all of Gwen's books too and I am so happy she wrote this as well!

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for the review.
    Sue B

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  6. I have Homer's first book and really need to get around to reading it. Thank you for reminding me with this post!

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    1. YES! you MUST!!!! Absolutely!!! You will love it! Then, after that, read the other two!

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  7. This book is at the top of my list of 'must reads' for Spring! I simply adored the first book; I even purchased a copy and tend to re-read it at least once a year.

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  8. What a beautiful review of a beautiful story. I'm sure this one hit you hard, Caren, but thank you so much for sharing this with us! Purrs!

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    1. Thanks so much! It did, you are most welcome! xoxo

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  9. This was a great review. The first book about Homer was and still is my most favorite book. I do want to read this new book about Homer some day. Gwen does right great books.

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    1. Thank you so much Marg! I agree with you about the first book, but this one is sooo incredibly special too. Gwen writes beautifully, so much emotion. Just wonderful!

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  10. What an amazing cat. A huge Awww. I linked Homer to Awww Mondays.

    Have a terrific day honey. Hugs to you and scritches to the babies. ♥♥♥

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    1. Thanks so much for linking us!!!!! You have a terrific day too! Love you!

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  11. Thank you, Karen for posting this about Homer. Having laughed and sobbed my way through Gwen Cooper's book Homer's Odyssey several years ago, I suspect it's time for another huge laugh/cry. Although I have a huge lump in my throat and tear up just looking at the cover. Gwen's book opened my heart in many ways, however. I rescue/TNR cats in Westchester County, NY and manage two feral colonies, but I had never considered bringing a special needs cat or dog into my home. Since reading and becoming inspired by "Homer's Odyssey" I now have two special needs cats: Maggie, an elderly FIV+ "friendly" feral, and Jet, a one-eyed black cat who came to me with weak kidneys, a urinary track infection and a blood parasite issue. Both Jet and Maggie are going strong. So thank you again to you for reviewing Homer's books, and thank you to Gwen Cooper for opening my eyes and heart to bringing special needs kitties into my home!

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    1. Nancy...thank YOU for your incredibly touching comment. I think your comment is a FAR better testimonial to the impact of Gwen's writing than any review that I, or anyone else could write. The fact that Gwen "opened your eyes" about adopting special needs pets through her writing about them, and that you actually DID adopt them due to Gwen, I think is the greatest gift that she could ever receive. Thank you, thank you for sharing that with all of us. You are incredible!! xxoxo

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    2. That is very sweet of you. Thank you for all that you do too!

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  12. I got this book for Christmas. I have to read the original first, but I am sad knowing Homer is already gone.

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  13. dood...if your mom had any apprehensions about doin a grate book ree view; they were unfounded...this ree view iz total lee awesum....thanx for bee in up front bout what ta expect...... { we wundered if it wood bee sad in sir tin chapturrz } we haz thiz book on R wish list at amazon.....guess itz time ta moove it two de cart ♥♥♥

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    1. That was so incredibly kind of you! Thank you!!!!! Yes it IS time to move it into the cart! You will LOVE it!! xoxo

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  14. What an amazing and very thoughtful review. I love Homer, too! Still love to read all the rescue stories posted on his facebook page.

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  15. The head peep first heard about Homer when Dr. Patty Kahuly wrote on the previous incarnation of her Doolittler blog about being asked to write the forward for Gwen's book about him. He has been an inspiration ever since. She hasn't read this book yet because it sounds too sad for her right now, but it's on her to-do list.

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  16. Sounds like a wonderful set of books. I'll have to find them. Thank you for the review.

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  17. Homer inspires all of us to this day and special he will always be!

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  18. I'm always so reluctant to read books like this because I don't want to be sad and cry. But I know how special Homer was and one day I'll read the first book and then this one. Thanks for the review. ~Island Cat Mom

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  19. Like the Island Cats' mom, our mommy tends to shy away from reading books like this because she cries at anything. We have Homer's first book that we got as a gift from someone who met Gwen and had it signed. She's attempted to read it but hasn't made it through yet. She will try again and might try this one too. Thanks for the great review!

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  20. Homer was such a wonderful kitty! His life has touched so many other kitties. Special needs kitties are a true blessing. Every kitty teaches you something about yourself through their life.

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  21. I read the first Homer book and loved it. What a special kitty! Looking forward to reading this one.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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  22. Wonderful review ! And thank you for the warning : if Mum gets the book, she'll have to buy one or two handkerchieves first ! Purrs

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  23. I love this blog post! Cheers!

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  24. Thanks so much for sending support to our dear Buddy Budd. It is greatly appreciated.
    And what a great review. We read Gwens other books and this looks to be the best of all. We may have to wait a bit to give it a read but we shall see.
    Thanks so much dear friends
    Timmy, Dad and Furs

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  25. We LOVE Homer! He was one of the first cats we followed on Facebook, and Mommy was lucky enough to meet Miss Gwen a few times. We loved your review!

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  26. Gwen is an amazing writer, and we came to love Homer through her. We are looking forward to reading her new book!

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