I actually heard about this book by reading something about the second book written about Dewey, Dewey's Nine Lives. Always a sucker for stories about cats and libraries, I knew I needed to check it out. And I was glad that I did.
On the one of the coldest days of winter, January 1988, the head librarian of the Spencer Town Library in Spencer, Iowa found an 8 week old kitten that had been dropped into the library book slot some time over the weekend. He was weak and cold, but he was a fighter. She and her fellow librarians warmed him up, fed him and took care of him. Then they, along with much of the town, adopted him as the king of the library. He helped a town that had been affected by the Farm Crisis of the 1980's learn how to smile and feel good about themselves again. And he became an inspiration for millions of people around the world as his story was told over the 19 years of his life.
The book isn't just Dewey Readmore Books' story, though. It's also the story of the author and head librarian, Vicki Myron. The two are intertwined and they both teach us a lot about life and about love. I picked the book up yesterday morning and finished it last night at around 1am. Because it was that engaging. As I read stories about Dewey, I thought about my own cats and the way that acted and reacted. As I read about the physical issues that Vicki had dealt with in her life, I became inspired by a woman who never gave up. Even though I wanted him to read it, I couldn't help read out funny parts to my husband, sometimes saying, "I've got to tell you this! It sounds JUST like Lemon!"
The hardest part for me to read was the end, though, when Dewey was in too much pain to go on. Last spring, my husband and I had to make the decision to put my cat, Tai, to sleep after he'd gotten hurt. And while I wasn't there when Tai passed (though Rich was), reading what Vicki wrote about letting Dewey go made me feel as though I was there. And it brought tears to my eyes. Because I knew that kind of love for a cat.
The book wasn't a sad one, really. It is filled with a lot of anecdotes of Dewey's life in the library and the lives he touched. And it lifted me up when I was feeling a bit down. I'm planning on requesting the next one from the library because I need to know more about Dewey. And maybe, just maybe, I need to think about bringing a new little soul into my home again.