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Homer's Odyssey    by Gwen Cooper order for
Homer's Odyssey
by Gwen Cooper
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I have to admit that I was biased even before I opened Gwen Cooper's Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat (my husband and I also live with three cats, two of whom are black like Homer), I challenge anyone to read it without a box of tissues handy.

In the Foreword, veterinarian Patricia Khuly speaks of treating an 'eminently lovable' two week old kitten with a severe eye infection, of her decision to surgically remove his eyes in order to save his life, and of his adoption by Gwen Cooper, whose two other cats were treated in her practice.

Cooper tells of her life with the blind kitten she names Homer, 'one of the most loyal, affectionate, and courageous sources of joy and inspiration I've ever known'. She describes the care with which she introduces Homer to his new home, and to her other cats, Scarlett and Vashti. And she talks about how positively he responds to her friends, and they to him.

Reading, one shares Homer's delight with the sounds that come from his Kleenex box/rubber band guitar, and with his Mr. Miyagi-like ability to 'snatch a fly out of five feet of air.' One is in awe of this tiny blind kitten's growling and snarling at an intruder in their apartment, perhaps saving his owner's life. And it's impossible not to share Gwen Cooper's anxiety when 9/11 separates her from her beloved cats in their NY apartment for several days.

Fortunately the author meets a man who is able to appreciate her felines and who says of Homer, 'This is a cat who knows how to live ... He's got this huge world in that little head, and you can tell just by looking at him that every second of every day of his life is an adventure.' It's a delight to be able to share that adventure in Homer's Odyssey, an account that makes clear how living with animals can make good people even better.

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