Homer's Odyssey

Written by: Gwen Cooper

Published By: Bantam Books

Reviewed by Natasia Minners


            Those of you who follow my writing here at know that I have begun attending KCU (Kitty Cat University).  This year, I added Famous Cats in American History I to my class load.  The professor assigned us the book Homerís Odyssey, saying that although this book was written by a human, the story of Homer makes him a cat we should all look up to.  I couldnít wait to check it out. 

            Homerís Odyssey begins with a introduction by Homerís first vet who explains how she first met Homer as a homeless kitten with such a severe eye infection, his eyes would have to be removed.  The humans that brought him to the vet were skeptical about having a blind kitten around and left him there.  Yes, sadly, there are some humans who canít see the advantages of having a handicapped kitty around.  They have no idea what they are missing.

            Anyway, so the vet asks around and there is only one human willing to allow Homer into the comforts of her home.  Gwen Cooper already lives with two rescue kitties and, although uncertain at first, agrees to take Homer in upon meeting him (some of us cats are simply to irresistible after all).  Gwen was told that Homer might be a bit skittish in new environments due to his blindness, but that he probably wouldnít even miss his eyes since they were removed at two weeks of age.

            The vet had no idea what Homer would be capable of.  This is a cat who loves new places, new smells, new adventures.  Heís simply fearless, taking flying leaps off of furniture and climbing bookshelves without any thought as to how he will get down.  He even once took on a man who broke into their home, swiping at him and then chasing him through the apartment until he left, protecting his home and the people and kitties who lived there.  There were no limits to what Homer could do if he set his mind to it.

            Homer even survived the terror of September 11, 2001.  I remember how scary that was.  We didnít live near the towers, but my human scooped us up anyway and brought us to her sisterís home so she could head out to help people.  She didnít come back for a couple of days and all of the smells and sounds were pretty scary for me and my brother, but I can only imagine how it must have been for Homer.  He had to stay in an apartment that was only blocks away from the World Trade Center for days with his sisters while his human tried desperately to get to him. 

            Watching Homer and his interaction with the world made his human realize that Homer was a good role model.  She decided to use Homerís example as a perfect way for her to approach life.  This decision to take the leap of faith was well worth it.  Gwen Cooper took the leap of faith and, as an unpublished author, wrote a successful book.  She took the leap of faith and found a soul mate.  Then, she took a leap of faith and wrote this book about Homer.

            As an olderÖI say more matureÖkitty, I have known some special needs kitties in my day.  My brother Rascal, the runt of his litter, became a special needs kitty as years went on.  I have been hearing discussions that I am a special needs kitty now that I am up in age, but I could have misheard this - could be that my human was just calling me a special kitty.  Anyways, there are many kitties out there with special needs and I say kudos to those humans who are willing to help these kitties out.  You folks are selfless and giving and you deserve some appreciation.

            Even more kudos go out to cats like Homer, a definite role model in my book and a kitty I will definitely look up to.  Homerís Odyssey is a story about a special needs kitty who enjoys life more because of his handicap, not in spite of it.  Homer uses all of his other senses to create adventures for himself.  He loves rough and tumble games, leaping into the unknown, climbing to new and incredible heights.  He may seem like a daredevil, but Homerís just being who he always was, a special needs kitty who is just happy to be alive. 

            Iím so thankful to Gwen Cooper for writing HomerĎs Odyssey, to Homer for allowing her to do so and for my Famous Cats in American History I teacher for making us read it.  This book will go down forever as a special favorite - the kind of book you cuddle up with when you need a pick-me-up.


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