The Independent London Newspaper

Read all about it: how Bob the stray cat became a bookshop star

James signs A Street Cat Named Bob copies for fans

Tale of the cat that transformed a homeless man’s life after Tribune article

James and Bob with literary agent Mary Pacnos

Published: 16 March, 2012
by PETER GRUNER

HOMELESS magazine seller James Bowen and his cat Bob become over­night stars this week as hundreds lined up to buy a new book about the pair.

Customers queued for up to 20 minutes on Tuesday night outside Waterstones bookshop at Angel, where author James was signing copies amid scenes not experienced since the last Harry Potter.

The book, A Street Cat Named Bob, is the true story of how lonely down-at-heel Big Issue seller James transformed his life after befriending a stray cat.

Bob is no ordinary cat. He’s intelligent and such is his devotion to James he travels everywhere with him, often on his shoulders.

Published by Hodder & Stoughton, the book came about after literary agent Mary Pacnos, who lives locally, read an article about the amazing friendship in the Tribune two years ago.

This week James, 31, from Tottenham, signed copies of the book for almost an hour, as Bob sat dutifully opposite on the desk, totally relaxed and unfazed by the attention.

James said: “I never expected so many people would want to read my story. I’m completely overwhelmed.”

He added that he did not expect the book to turn him into a millionaire. “You don’t make huge amounts of money with books these days,” he said. “But I will be able to reduce the days when I need to go out and sell the Big Issue.”

American-born Ms Pacnos has had huge success with the book Marley and Me, about the world’s worst dog, which later became a film.

She said she first saw James and Bob outside Angel Tube station and then read the article in the Tribune. “I thought I’d better get my skates on and publish them before someone else did,” she said. “There are a lot of agents and publishers in Islington.

“The book has already been sold in seven countries. Judging by the enormous interest I think it is really going to take off. When the Americans notice it we won’t know what’s hit us.”

What attracted her to the story? “It’s  about love and redemption with lots of humour,” she said. “A young man is living on his own with very little to show for himself when suddenly his life is transformed by a loving and loyal friend.”

A Street Cat Named Bob (How one man and his cat found hope on the streets) by James Bowen is available at Waterstones at Islington Green, price £14.99.

Comments

James and Bob

I was gripped from the very first sentence to the last word of the book A street cat named Bob. Never read a book where I was so absorbed. What a brilliant story. Well done James and Bob. Love you both....

Bob the stray cat

The book was recently published in Bulgaria. A touching story that reminded me of my beloved pet that I lost a couple of years ago - a siamese tomcat with a stunning, almost human intellect. Good look to James and Bob!

ive just finished reading James Bowens book.

When I first came across Bob and his owner last spring in Covent Garden I hadn't realised how famous they already were. I've always loved cats and Bob has such a lovely calm nature and intelligent face I was mesmerized by him. I'm not surprised James felt such an ifinity with Bob. I'm so glad they are both doing so well - they both deserve happiness.

The new Harry Potter

When the first Harry Potter's book came out it has the aaah factor because everyone was feeling sorry for poor Harry who was left orphaned and many people rushed out to buy the book. Now it is the same with Bob and his owner James with the aaah factor and everyone rushed out to buy the book. I'm another one who rushed out to buy the book. It is such a lovely book and it opened my eyes to realise what kind of life he has had in the streets and how he was treated either goodly or badly and his going through with the drugs. It is not just a sweet book about the cat and his one man but also about the people around him and the loneliness we can all have if we run into any kind of problems. We as the community should and ought to help one another more.
Melanie Gadsdon

bob and his owner

Just got back from staying in Covent Garden for 5 days and got talking to a lady in the Travelodge, she was going down to th square to find the man and his cat, it got me so interested that when I got home I ordered the book on Amazon and can't wait to read it, he is a nice caring man and deserves the best. x

a street cat called bob

I can't wait to buy the book, when will there be a film? Mr Bowen deserves to be a wealthy man I hope he will be..

Does it have a translate on

Does it have a translate on the Russian language?

no yet

no yet

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