March 20, 2012

Book Review: Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper


Homer, the Greek poet who wrote the great epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey, was blind. The Odyssey concerns the hero’s return home after the fall of Troy.

Homer, the star of Gwen Cooper’s memoir Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat, is a blind kitten. He is brought to the vet with a very bad eye infection. The vet removes his eyes, and sets about finding Homer a forever home.

Enter Gwen Cooper, who already has taken in two stray cats. Gwen is smitten with Homer, not so much because he is blind but because he has such a courageous spirit. He comes into her life at just the right time, after a breakup with her long-time boyfriend. As Cooper says:

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 out 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.

Homer is full of spunk and character. He defends Gwen against an intruder who breaks into her home. Along with her other two cats, they survive for several days after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, after Cooper is unable to return to her apartment near the World Trade center.

Homer is utterly lovable. He leaps tall bookcases, hangs from curtains, and shoves tuna cans out of the kitchen cabinet. He loves life with a joyous innocence. It is very easy to fall in love with him! Everything he does takes a leap of faith.

Gwen Cooper is a very talented writer. The book is cleverly put together, with quotes from The Odyssey heading each chapter. Cooper writes about how Homer gave her the courage to move to New York when she was almost 30 years old, and how Homer’s influence changed how she viewed her relationships with men.

Even if you aren’t as crazy about cats as I am, you will love Homer.

You can read more about Homer on his blog: Homer's Odyssey.

Disclosure: I purchased this book.

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