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Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, Or How I Learned About Love And Life With A Blind Wonder Cat

by Gwen Cooper
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Bantam
  • Publishing date: 07/09/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780385343985
  • ISBN: 0385343981

Synopsis

Book Description
Once in nine lives, something extraordinary happens...

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an "underachiever," never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.


Amazon Exclusive: Gwen Cooper on Homer's Odyssey

I never wanted to be a writer of non-fiction. While I can honestly say that I dreamt of being a writer from my earliest discovery of books, memoirs held no interest for me. The stories I loved—and devoured with a single-minded intensity that charmed my English teachers while causing my math teachers to gnash their teeth in frustration—were stories that were larger than life, that played out on a grand scale. I read fairy tales, mythology (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Native American, you name it), epic poems, novels about soldiers, pirates, adventurers, explorers, heroes, magicians, revolutionaries, beautiful damsels, dashing cads, romances, tragedies, comedies—everything, in short, that struck me as just a touch more interesting than real life ever seemed to be.

It amazes me now that, for years, I never thought about Homer as being the hero of his own story. I knew that he was extraordinary, I knew that everybody who ever met him was full of questions—wanting to know why and how. But he was also just my cat, the goofy little guy who jumped around in circles when I came home at night, who loved to chase around stuffed toys, insisted on getting his fair share of tuna if I was making a tuna sandwich, and curled up in a tight ball on my left knee whenever I sat at the computer to email friends or finish up work projects.

The idea of writing about Homer didn’t occur to me until Laurence, my husband—who was then my boyfriend—met him for the first time and wanted to know (as most people do) how it was that Homer ended up blind. When I told him how Homer had been abandoned shortly after birth, how he’d been near death until he was brought in to my veterinarian, how the price of saving his life had been the loss of his vision, and how he’d still nearly met an inglorious end in an animal shelter because nobody wanted to adopt him until finally my vet called me—when he heard all that, Laurence’s response was, "He’s like Daredevil, like a comic book superhero. He has an origin story and everything."

Laurence was quite pleased with this analogy, and loved to expound upon it. When he observed that Homer was braver, faster, and more agile than my two sighted cats, or when he saw Homer leap five feet straight into the air to catch a buzzing fly in mid-flight, he would talk about Homer’s "superpowers." When I told him how Homer had once single-handedly chased off a burglar who broke into my apartment in the middle of the night, Laurence said, “You’re a storyteller—why don’t you tell some of these stories?”

It’s impossible to quantify or define the ways in which Homer has moved me, inspired me, and flat-out entertained me over the years. But perhaps the greatest gift he’s given me is the ability to find the heroism and grandeur of my favorite stories smack-dab in the middle of my everyday life. Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty of action and larger-than-life adventure tales to be found in these pages. But Homer is extraordinary even when he’s at his most ordinary. No aspiring writer in love with adventure stories could have asked for better material.

I always wanted to be a writer, but I never wanted to be a writer of non-fiction. Sometimes, things work out differently than you think they will. Sometimes life picks you up and drops you in the middle of a story that’s better than any you could ever have imagined. Sometimes you don’t know what’s missing until you find it. Homer is the living proof.—Gwen Cooper


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  • The Ultimate Cat Book
    From Amazon

    While I was a bit critical of this authors fiction debut (perhaps unfairly) I am so much of an animal lover and activist that I finally decided to pick up "Homer's Odyssey" at Books and Books on Long Island and give it a read. It was a very well written, heartwarming story that sweeps you in from the opening chapters. In a time when people are throwing away their unwanted pets like newspapers, it would have been very easy for Gwen Cooper to "just say no" when this cat was first offered to her. The fact that she said "yes" and this cat has become center stage in such a terrific story brings a ray of hope to the never ending fight for rescue animals--many beautiful and perfectly healthy that may never find the love Homer has. I enjoyed the whole book especially how the cat seemed to alter the author's life. Gwen Cooper is a wonderful writer and as this book makes the rounds in my group of animal lovers, I have also found just the right gift.

  • Purr-fect
    From Amazon

    This book is not just about an amazing cat, who on his own would win your heart, but is also about life, love, learning, and growing. Gwen Cooper's story is something we can all relate to--struggles with love, struggles with a career, struggles with money... This is a must read, and the most important part--It has a happy ending! Finally, pet people can read a book without having to reach for the tissues during the final chapters.

  • What a fantastic feline!
    From Amazon

    I am a great fan of the James Herriot books. Being an animal lover, I have read quite a few books about animals but have never found that talent that Herriot brought to his story telling in any other book...until now. Gwen did an outstanding job telling about Homer. What a fantastic cat! I cried over the fear Gwen experienced after 9/11, I rejoiced in the little 3-4 pound cat chasing a burglar from Gwen's apartment and in his ability to catch flies. What a funny, wonderful, sweet story. And it was mostly about the animal - which I appreciate greatly. I would recommend this book to any animal lover! Great job, Gwen! Thanks for sharing Homer's wonderful story with us.

  • so sweet, so funny
    From Amazon

    This book is the sweetest and funniest. It will have you moved to tears and soon rolling out of laughter. That little guy is so cute, inocent and brave. It is a sweet, real, positive book. Highly recommend.

  • So glad I read this one!
    From Amazon

    I almost didn't read this book because I first heard about it when I saw it on the Amazon page for another book that was really bad. (And weirdly had nothing to do with cats or pets) But this book was great! Probably it's the best damn animal story I've ever read. Other people have talked about the harrowing 9/11 chapters and the amazing story about the break in when this little blind cat scared away a full-grown burglar! The very best thing about this story though is its heart. Gwen Cooper clearly has a huge heart and the little cat named Homer has a heart big enough for ten lions. An amazing adventure story about an amazing cat, and his equally amazing human.

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