Title: Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
Country: US (Sept. 2008)
Genre: nonfiction, biography & memoir
Rating: ** 1/2
I first heard about Dewey one leisurely Sunday morning sipping coffee and watching CBS's Sunday Morning news program. I have always enjoyed how the show doesn't just focus on current events found on prime time news, but features interviews with dedicated celebrities, musicians, artists, philosophers, politicians, authors and various other special interest stories. It was here that I first saw this adorable lioness looking cat prance around. Dewey was a library cat. And a very famous one at that. After the vignette ended, my heart was captured. I had to get my hands on Dewey's memoir. Evidently so did a lot of other people; I was put on my library's waiting list for what seemed like forever. Dewey finally made it to my house and I finished it in two days.
Dewey's story began a long time ago, one freezing January morning in Spencer, Iowa. Vicky Myron, town librarian, heard some strange noise coming from the overnight drop off box. Initially thinking it was a chipmunk, she crouched down to inspect. She was quite startled to see a tiny kitten crouched in an attempt to stay warm. Vicky shares that even though it's quite cliche, her "heart melted". Thus begins Dewey's journey at the Spencer library.
After introducinsg Dewey to the staff members that morning, the group decides they want to keep the little guy. Next, Vicky must get the board on board with the idea of having a library cat. Then, she must tackle the small town of Spencer to gain acceptance of their furry find. Luckily, Dewey is a rather handsome and charming devil, most fall in love with him immediately.
The memoir (loosely used here) shares stories of how Dewey permanently gets his name - a contest with the town voting. We find out that Dewey has a full name even: Dewy Readmoore Books, which is a nice librarian pun "Do we read more books?". We glimpse into the memories of Dewey's first Christmas, the
Dewey tree, trips to the vet, and a variety of other cutesy feline tales that will, yes, "melt your heart".
The story of Dewey is so popular that through word of mouth, people from all over begin to visit this quaint little town to meet the famous librarian cat. In fact, Dewey's tale makes it across seas and a Japanese group of filmmakers fly over to add Dewey to an ongoing documentary about you guessed it, cats. Dewey was listed on "working cat".
So did I love the book? Oh how I wish I could recommend this to everyone! But unfortunately, I can't. It could have been so much more than what it was. It was a quick read, yes. Very easy, but often very dull. The writing was atrocious. The authors did not paint an emotionally captivating tale, but rather it was stale, much as you would expect from a friend retelling their day. The important details were there, but that certain something that breathes life into a story was missing.
There was too much information about Iowa, firstly, and more specifically, the town of Spencer. The memoir detailed the history of town and state from the late 1980's to present day. It wasn't that this history was interspersed within the memoir; I understand the merit of knowing about the farming crisis in a state where farming is their livelihood, and get that it affects the townspeople, hence the story. Unfortunately Myron & Witter lay it out in cold hard facts that left me with no one to connect to. I wanted more Dewey! And even the librarian, Vicky (who is the author). She merely glosses over her family and background even though she is the connection through out the whole memoir. Vicky is what ties Dewey, the library, and Spencer together.
Ultimately, the book was a large disappointment. There was no depth to the story.