Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron with Bret Witter (Read by Suzanne Toren)
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Text Copyright Date: 2008
Production Copyright Date: 2008
Length: 4 Discs (Approx. 4.5 hours)(Abridged)
Book Description (from back cover of case):
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandonned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.
Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.
As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.
Suzanne Toren did a good job — for the most part — of reading this. Her voice would go softer when she was trying to portray certain emotions, and that helped set the mood. I have to say, though, her imitation of a man's voice was horrible. All men sounded the same...and they sounded weird.
Of course I couldn't resist reading a book that combined cats and libraries. Two of my loves there — animals and books. Vicki makes it clear from the beginning that the book is about Dewey and his nineteen years with the library. That implies a beginning, middle, and end.
So, the beginning (first disc) had me misty eyed nearly the entire time. When Dewey's aweful beginning wasn't being described, his touching effect on everybody around him was. And my emotions were kicked in high gear.
Discs 2 and 3 (the middle) were not so emotional; they were interesting (to me at least). I have some backround in discusion of library history, layout, and Carnegie from my library history and philanthropy classes, but I had to wonder, though, how interesting the majority of people reading/listening would find it. Dewey's popularity continues to grow, Vicki describes some of her own issues...
And that brings us to the end (last disc). I felt a sick feeling in my stomach when I put this disc in. When was Dewey going to die, how was he going to leave life? It was obvious he's no longer alive so... Anyway, by the end I was sobbing. It probably didn't help that my family just had a family cat put down for health issues a couple weeks before.
Overall, I liked the beginning, the middle tended to be a bit slow, and the end was difficult, but very real. This is another book that definitely worked better as audio (except the men's voices) for me than print.