Friday, September 19, 2014

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper*

Reviewed by Meygan

*Not to be mistaken for the epic Greek poem, although I did feel incredibly smug when people admired the way I read “The Odyssey” for fun.  

According to the ASPCA, there are ninety million cats residing in approximately thirty-eight million homes in the United States. That is ninety million novels that could have been written, published, and possibly become a bestseller. So what makes Cooper’s story about her frisky solid black cat, Homer, any different? Well, first of all, Homer is blind. What’s so special about a blind cat? you ask yourself. That’s when Cooper’s humor and vivid details come in to piece together the story.  

Cooper wasn’t looking to adopt a third cat when her veterinarian called her about a two-week old kitten that had lost his sight due to an infection. Cooper questioned, just like most of us cat people do, How many cats can I have until people start thinking I am crazy? But as soon as she saw Homer, she fell in love. And by the second chapter, I had fallen madly in love with Homer as well. (I do need to mention that I DO love every kitten and cat that I encounter. So much, in fact, that I believe my husband is currently writing a contract with a lawyer stating that under no circumstances am I allowed to bring home anything else that has a mouth to feed. I wish I were kidding.) Homer is lively to say the least, especially for a cat that sees nothing but darkness. But Homer quickly learns his whereabouts to the many homes he is introduced to. (He especially becomes acquainted with the words, “No, Homer!”) The first chapters are mostly about the many adventures of Homer and his two “sisters”, Vashti and Scarlett. If I had to title these chapters, I would name them Homer and the Case of the Buzzing Fly; Homer Learns Not to Jump So High; Homer and the Case of the Burglar; Homer, Vashti, and Scarlet and the “Something Stinks, Who Done It?” Mystery. 

Although I loved hearing about Homer, Vashti, and Scarlett, I have mixed feelings about the ending of the book. Don’t get me wrong—I know that Cooper had to talk about herself every once in a while to lead readers to Homer’s next extravaganza, but I was disappointed in the ending. The first twenty chapters or so were superb. Cooper writes with such honesty with a hint of humor that will captivate readers. Then the narrative takes to turn. 

Throughout the book, Cooper plays with the idea of meeting Mr. Right, falling in love, and living happily ever after. She expresses the fear that this might never happen. Cooper is sweet and hilarious and someone that readers will want to find true love. Well, that day finally came for Cooper, and I couldn’t have been more disappointed in her choice. 

Do I think Cooper “used” her blind cat to gain attention for this novel? No, honestly, I do not. At least, I don’t think that was her intention. I do not want to give away any major spoilers, but Homer’s disposition changes towards the end and although I realize he is no longer the spunky kitten he was once, I believe the major change is because of Cooper’s love interest. There were parts of the book towards the end that made me so upset that I felt like ripping the book in half. However, the copy I was reading belonged to the library; needless to say, Cooper’s book was unharmed. I guess in the end I wanted more cats and less Gwen Cooper. Was that too much to ask for? 

Please don’t let my review of the ending deter you from reading the book. Cooper is an admirable writer. She’s witty, gets to the point, uses great sentence structure and vocabulary choice, and will probably make you want to adopt a cat after finishing Homer’s Odyssey. (No more cats, I repeat my husband’s words.) 

Unlike Old Yeller *spoiler alert*, Homer’s Odyssey ends on a happy note with

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