Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-09-08 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 1 user ratings

" Damn little book about a cat made me cry. Yeah this was good, just something about it, something about Dewey. But I also loved reading about the small town in Iowa where he lived and the life of its people especially Vicki, Dewey's Mum. I feel like I know her now. Also enjoyed the pictures scattered throughout. Just a nice read, except for the crying at 3am when I finished part. Damn cat. " said.

"When I bought this book I thought I was buying a book just about Dewy Readsmore Books, his life at the library, and aspects of how he grew to be the most famous library cat ever. Instead I heard a lot about the private life of his owner, Vicki Myron, and the town both cat and owner call home. This disappointed me as, if I'm honest I didn't really care about anything not having to do with Dewey. The writing in this book is fine and simple overall. The narrator does a decent job but can be boring at times. There seemed to be a lack of emotion in her voice. I found myself bored with this audiobook and even thought about not finishing it multiple times. If this was the print version I wouldn't have made it as far as I did. This isn't necessarily a bad book but I didn't like it, which surprised me as I usually enjoy stories like this. I just wanted a book about Dewey, not his owner's memoir or his hometown's history. I feel bad for rating this book the way I have but had to be honest in my feelings; this book is a 2.75 rating for me. I'd definitely recommend the audio over print.

Side note: Reading the book along with the audio is how I read this book.
" said.

" 2.5 Dewey's adorable; the story of his odds-beating survival, rescue, and world domination through cat charm is pretty great. I love cats! I love libraries! What went wrong? Saccharine and Reader's Digesty, ew. " said.

"This book has irritated and disappointed me so much that I'm taking a few minutes to bash it.

I first saw "Dewey" in a book store before Christmas. I read the first page of the introduction while standing in front of the new books display, and I loved it. That first page was one of the best descriptions of Iowa I've read -- it perfectly summarized how I feel about my home state.

"There is a thousand mile table of land in the middle of the United States, between the Mississippi River on the East and the deserts on the West. Out here, there are rolling hills, but no mountains. There are rivers and creeks, but few large lakes. The wind has worn down the rock outcroppings, turning them first to dust, then dirt, then soil, and finally to fine black farmland. Out here, the roads are straight, stretching to the horizon in long, unbroken lines. There are no corners, only occasional, almost imperceptible bends. This land was surveyed and plotted for farms; the bends are corrections in the survey line. Exactly every mile, every road is intersected by another almost perfectly straight road. Inside is a square mile of farmland. Take a million of those square miles, lace them together, and you have one of the most important agricultural regions in the world. The Great Plains. The Bread Basket. The Heartland. Or as many people think of it, the place you fly over on your way to somewhere else. Let them have the oceans and mountains, their beaches and their ski resorts. I’ll take Iowa."

Great paragraph, right? Well, enjoy it, because it's the last great graph in the book.

So, I finally get the book from the library, and I'm happy to read about this cat that got abandoned in a library book slot in a small Iowa town. By this time, the book is a full-fledged bestseller, so I'm optimistic.

Sadly, the book quickly degenerates into a recount of every cute thing the damn cat ever did. Remember the time Dewey chewed on some rubber bands? Or how about the time he crawled into the lap of a Grumpy Old Man and made him smile? Gee whiz, that cat sure is cute!

Gag, and gag again. I read about 30 pages, and then I started skimming, hoping it would improve. Soon, I couldn't even handle skimming the stories, because the writing style was so childish and grating. This book seems to be written for an 8-year-old girl who loves cats, but it mistakenly got put on the Adult Nonfiction shelf.

I will grant that there is a good two-page explanation on the Farm Crisis of the 1980s, and how it devastated so many Iowa families. The writer thinks the farm crisis boosted Dewey's popularity in the town, because he cheered up so many people during a tough time.

That may be true, but there doesn't need to be 288 pages on how cute this one library cat was.

And I'm sure that one of the reasons this book is so popular now is because there is another financial crisis, and people apparently want sentimental pap to cheer them up.
" said.

"I love cats. I love libraries. But God, I loathed this.

Not because of Dewey, of course. Dewey seems like the sweetest kitten that ever graced earth – like most kittens do. He lived in a library and made the life of the librarians a bit sweeter and lovelier just by being there. He was rescued, and he rescued others in turn. He made a difference just by existing. As pets often do.

The parts of this book concerning Dewey's routines and habits were overly cute. I adored reading about Dewey's quest for rubber bands and his ability to locate and to fall asleep in every open drawer, cupboard or empty box he could find. Cats are cute. And Dewey is no exception to this rule.

But, the way this book is written is tedious. Myron constantly tells the reader that she knows, what Dewey is thinking. And not in a fun, trying-to-figure-out-what-the-cat-is-thinking-way. No. In a obnoxious, overbearing and much too selfreasurring way. An example: “He regarded it as his job to make the library a place where people could be happy”. Myron forcer her own sense of higher purpose on a cat in order to give him a noble cause. But who says that Dewey didn't regard it as his job to purr and to sleep all day?

At other times, the book reads as written by an 8-year old. Myron observes how Dewey is around everyone else and smugly notes, that they think they have a special relationsship with Dewey even though he treats everyone the same. Her point is that Dewey is generally good and loves everyone equally, and she laughs at those endearingly naive people thinking that they are something special. But of course, Myron reaffirms, her own relationsship with Dewey is special. Dewey loves her the most, and while that may be true (she does serve him his food, after all), it is tedious to read about. I felt like part of the story was narrated by a jealous little child.

This book is also interwoven with personal anecdotes from Myron's own life as well as long tirades on Iowa's economy and beautiful landscapes. Not only was it pointless to read, it was also painfully bad written. And worst of all, I didn't care. I only wanted the cute cat anecdotes.
" said.

"If you love cats or libraries or both, this book is for you. I do. A small gray kitten is found in a book slot deposit, more dead than alive, in the middle of an Iowan winter. After a bath, a warm-up, and a recovery from frostbitten feet pads, it turns out the kitten is an orange tabby; he is adopted by the Spencer Free Library and after a naming contest, becomes Dewey Readmore Books. In the 1980s, things were rough in Iowa: farmers went bankrupt, then their banks followed, and towns too. Dewey, on the other hand, seemed to represent hope: he had a knack for making friends, seeming to intuitively know who needed his help most, such as the head librarian (serious health problems) or handicapped children or someone having a bad day. His antics are very funny for cat lovers, such as his love for catnip, rubber bands, boxes, etc. There is a great story about his trying to alert the staff to a bat loose in the library. Dewey's fame spread everywhere because he was special.

P.S. My only complaint was that like The Lord of the Rings movie, it ended too many times.
" said.

" This book is as much about Spencer, Iowa and the people who live there as it is about Dewey the cat. The author (a librarian in Spencer) tells of the people in the town and how Dewey affected their lives for the better. She chronicles his life from when he came to the library as an abandoned kitten to his death at age 19. While heartwarming, this isn't a cutsie story about a kitty cat. The town, the librarian, and the cat are all survivors of hard times. An enjoyable read. " said.

"I’m a lark. At 5.00am in the morning I can read anything. In fact I’m up for a challenge. But as the day wears on I flag. Come 11pm at night my brain is mush, and my bedtime reading has to be easy, soothing and happy. Stodge for the eyes. It has to go down like my favourite pudding.

“Dewey – The small-town library-cat who touched the world” was in this vein. It should have appealed to bedtime me – I am completely besotted with cats, and with libraries for that matter..... but it didn’t. The book was deeply earnest in tone. There were two dissonant threads, firstly, a story about a wonderful cat, and secondly, the story of the sad life (blighted by various tragedies), of the woman who ran the library, and looked after Dewey. This librarian was fantastically brave throughout all her negative experiences, but they pealed like a gong throughout the book. For me her distresses detracted from Dewey’s story. (I know that's an awful thing to say, but they did....)

I was also let down in that Dewey the cat didn’t really come alive for me. There were several occasions where I could have found myself dabbing my eyes with tissues and aww-ing at Dewey’s adorableness, but this didn’t happen. Instead we were given lots of statistics to prove his lovability (e.g. when people were asked to choose a name for him, hundreds responded, and when he died the librarian received more than a thousand emails conveying sympathy), but this was proof from the outside. I wanted proof in my heart, and it never happened. I never experienced Dewey’s wonderfulness for myself. Judging by the statistics, and descriptions of Dewey’s behaviour, he really was a very exceptional cat, loved by many people…but I never really felt it for myself.

I feel a mean and horrible person for not liking this book more. 25,689 people have rated it here at Goodreads (now that is a phenomenal number of people!) with an average rating of 3.77.... but it just didn’t turn me on.
" said.

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