Many people have heard of Dewey the library cat. If you haven’t, the story goes as follows: on a cold night in a small town in Iowa, someone pushed an 8-week old kitten into the drop box at the library. The librarians found him the next morning. They took him in, nursed him to health, and eventually adopted him as the library’s cat. Dewey lived in the Spencer library for 19 years until his death just a few years ago. This book, written by the library director who also happened to be the woman who found Dewey in the drop box, is part memoir and part record of Dewey’s life.
I loved this book. I’m not a huge animal-lover. We have a cat, but it’s mostly Jason’s and the boys’ cat, not mine. I grew up in a house with too many pets and I learned to shy away from animals because of that. We only got our first pet in our home in November. Since we got a cat, I’ve learned to understand cats better. Reading about Dewey was wonderful. I loved hearing all his antics and recognizing the things that my own cat does.
I also loved all the sections about Iowa. Myron outlines their community and area, both in history and culture. She goes back to the beginnings of the town. Since I lived in rural Wisconsin, so many of the things Myron wrote about brought back such wonderful memories of that area. It felt like I was reading about home. I loved it.
Less exciting were the memoir sections. I think I stated recently that I’ve become less and less fond of memoirs. I’m not sure why, because I used to love them, but now I get a bit tired reading about people’s lives. I’d rather read fiction. It’s not like I’d prefer a biography or anything. I’m just not all that fond of nonfiction, and now that’s starting to include memoirs too. I’d never heard anything about Vicki Myron before. I didn’t pick up this book to learn about her life. I picked this up to learn about Dewey’s life.
That’s not to say that I didn’t learn anything from Myron. Hearing about her various battles with an alcoholic husband, multiple surgeries, breast cancer, and more really did teach me some things. Little things, but even little things were worth it. I never felt like the memoir sections were overstretching their bounds, and just when I’d begin to get tired of them, the book would loop back to Dewey. It was well-paced and planned that way.
Dewey really was an amazing cat in many ways. I hadn’t heard of him before he died, but reading about his death at the end of the book affected me just as if I’d known him. He was a special cat and I can see why people adored him and mourned his loss.