Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Grand Central Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-446-40741-0.
Reviewed by Susan Ideus
Posted on 02/04/2009

Nonfiction: Memoir

The story of Dewey, a plucky little orange alley cat who came to live in the public library in Spencer, Iowa, was delightful—from his rescue to his fight for survival to his climb to fame. Because there were people who united to care for him, they found they were able to unite and support and care for one another. The author makes that point convincingly. While she gives most of the credit to Dewey himself, almost as if he were a magic talisman, it is really, in my opinion, the resiliency of the human spirit at work. We are all at our best when we turn outside of ourselves.

The anecdotes about Dewey are cute and heart-warming for all animal lovers and maybe even for a few curmudgeons who might believe they are above that kind of nonsense. The cat is cute, he does cute things; and, he captures the hearts and imaginations of the library patrons in Spencer, the townspeople and eventually an adoring public who come to know of him through the media. The book would have enhanced by including more photos of the adorable little guy. After all, this is his moment of stardom.

That being said, I was disappointed by an excess of details about Ms. Myron's own life, illnesses and struggles. I say this not to be unkind, but to point out that this was purportedly not her memoir but Dewey's story. It would have been sufficient to say, for purposes of this book, that when she hurt and needed comfort, Dewey was there for her. Instead the story often drifted off course and became a matter of giving readers much more than they surely ever wanted or needed to know about very private areas of the author's life. It was distracting.

Dewey's story could have stood on its own merits. The author's love of Dewey and her priceless championing of the public library could have been crafted into a more compact, but still inspiring, book. Nonetheless, cat fanciers and all animal lovers will be entertained by the legend of this plucky small town library cat.

With a Master's degree in Library Science, Vicki Myron was director of the Spencer Iowa Public Library for 20 years. She has one married daughter. Myron resides in Spencer. For more information on Myron, see the publisher's website.

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