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[174] Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat That Touched the World – Vicki Myron

dewey“Books fit on both sides of a shelf. Between the two rows is four inches of space. Between the books was Dewey’s ultimate hiding place: quick, handy, and secure. The only way to find him was to lift books at random and look behind them…Between these books was an enormous labyrinth, a long, narrow world all Dewey’s own.” [132]

Aside from the miraculous survival story, Dewey’s physical appearance would have made him the ambassador that wins everyone’s heart. The long-haired orange tabby has a regal bearing, perches behind the librarian’s desk with his paws in front, stares at patrons and asks them to stare back. The smart cat has a knack for connecting with people: There is a rhythm into his interactions that seem the most natural and beautiful thing. That Dewey is a contant giver who doesn’t play favorites makes him a fixture in the community.

The cat’s arrival in the library of Spencer, a small town in Iowa that has withstood a devastating fire and farm closures over a century, cannot be more dramatic. The librarian found him huddling in the corner of the book drop on a bitter cold January morning in 1987. As soon as Vicki Myron cradled the frostbitten tabby in her arms, he has entrusted his life to her and the loving staff, and thus begins a nineteen-year relationship that eventually seeps down in the cracks of the town. I was skeptical about how a cat can touch the world until reading the part of his being on national and overseas television. Then there are the children of the children Dewey had got to known when he was a kitten. His influence is far-fetched.

Woven among the cute-cat anecdotes are Myron’s own inspirational stories of enduring welfare, the abuses of an alcoholic husband, breast cancer, and single motherhood. This book epitomizes the mysterious and wondrous ways animals and libraries enrich humanity.

The picture of Dewey on the book cover is taken by a photographer at the library, for Dewey was afraid of the studio. He is very confident of his beauty and popularity:

“Most cats in photographs look scared to death, desperate to sniff the camera, or disgusted by the whole process—or often all three…Dewey looks calm.” [145]

10 Responses

  1. My two favorite things…libraries and cats. I fear I will have to cry when I read this.

  2. I did at the end.

  3. I must read this book. Soon. 🙂

  4. This is a moving and a heartwarming biography, isn’t it? I *heart* cats and libraries! I’m glad I read it.

  5. So do I. You know I have two cats…so I’ll have to read this book.

  6. Matt, this sounds like a fabulous book. Thank you for speaking of it. I shall watch for Dewey in my travels!
    Happy holidays to you!

  7. People, i read read about that they will make a film out of this book, with Meryl Streep being Vicki the librarian. Can you imagine how difficult it will e to shoot a movie with these cats who are always on their own agenda?

  8. Lisa:
    I think i should host a giveaway of this book. Everyone should find this touching. 🙂

  9. Melody:
    After reading this memoir, I understand why bookstores always have resident cats. 🙂

  10. Cipriano:
    I was just thinking about how you might enjoy this book. Great vacation/comfort read! 🙂

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