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In 2007, James Bowen was a homeless man, fighting drug addictions and trying to survive living in London when a ginger cat adopted him. Bob, as James called him, turned James’ life around. Now, 12 years later, seven books, a movie and a children’s YouTube show later, James is clean, sober and traveling the world with Bob. His inspirational book, “The Little Book of Bob: Life Lessons from a Streetwise Cat” is a collection of life lessons James has learned since being adopted by Bob.

It’s not a large book and can be read in one sitting. Most of the lessons are common sense and practical. The chapters are lessons broken down by subject. They are Lessons in Friendship; What We Need to Be Happy; How to Get the Most Out of Life; How to Survive All that Life Throws at Us; How to Be Good to Ourselves; and Lessons in Day-to-Day Life.

Scattered through the life lessons are little stories of encounters James and Bob have had with people all around the world. Good encounters, bad encounters, happy and sad; they have all led James to realize the lessons he was being taught in those moments. Through all these encounters, James had Bob’s example of behavior as a way to see how to handle these incidents.

An example of the stories, Bob and James were in Norway because the publishers wanted them to meet their biggest fan in Oslo, Anne. Anne is blind and had read all the books in Braille. She really wanted to meet Bob and James. When James, through an interpreter, asked her why she was so insistent on meeting them, she told them, “Hope.” The hope she had seen in the book about Bob had reached into her dark world and had shone a light of hope for her where she had had no hope at all. This taught James that we all need to feel hope no matter where we see or find it.

My favorite lesson in the book: You can’t lose a real friend. The only friends you can lose are those who aren’t really friends at all. True friendship lives inside you and is a part of you that can never go away.

The book reminded me that we need to be aware of the world around us and how we can reach out to help others or to accept help offered. None of us are alone in this world; we may try to behave and believe that we are alone but we are not. Everything we do or don’t do affects the world around us. We need to keep our eyes open for ways that we can enrich and bless those around us. In doing so, we are enriched and blessed ourselves.

Susan McKinney is the librarian at the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library. She received her master’s in Library Science from the University of Illinois. She came here from Indiana for graduate school and fell in love with the area. She has lived here ever since. She is an avid reader and enjoys mystery, suspense, fantasy and action novels.