Homer's Odyssey (Japanese Edition)

Overview

Once in nine lives,
something extraordinary happens...

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen's veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who'd been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

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Overview

Once in nine lives,
something extraordinary happens...

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen's veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who'd been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an "underachiever," never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen's life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer's unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn't something you see with your eyes.

Homer's Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it's a memoir for anybody who's ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

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Like the ancient Greek bard, Gwen Cooper's feline Homer is blind, but there their similarity ends. There is no evidence, for example, that the author of The Iliad ever liked to be tickled on the belly or any indication that he could rival cat Homer's capacity to form bonds instantly with strangers. In this Homer's Odyssey, the hero is a fearless three-pound, four-footed housemate who teaches wisdom just by being himself. The equal of nine ordinary lives.
Publishers Weekly
Cooper had every intention of saying “no” to the veterinarian who asked her if she was interested in adopting a four-week-old stray kitten with a “particular handicap.” She was fresh off a bad breakup, working a low-paying job and living rent-free in a friend's bedroom—plus she was worried about the social implications of adding one cat to the two she had already adopted: “The neighborhood kids will... say things like 'That's where Old Widow Cooper, the cat lady, lives.' ” But as soon as she picked up the tiny kitten and he started to purr, she caved. She settled on a name and brought Homer home. His intrepid explorations of his new environs quickly challenged Cooper's expectations of a blind cat. And through 12 years, six moves, several boyfriends and a showdown with a burglar, this tender and affecting book reveals Homer's lessons about love and acceptance—and how he transformed Cooper into the woman she had always wanted to be. Photos. (Aug. 25)
Library Journal
When Cooper agreed to adopt a third cat that was eyeless from a terrible infection because no one else would, words like blind, abandoned, unwanted, and orphan were in her mind before she met this kitten. Instead of feeling pity, she fell in love with the tiny feline, and the epic odyssey of Homer began. Homer grew into a daredevil cat that made friends with everyone he met (including dog people) and never once let his lack of sight impede his joy for life and love for Cooper. Homer's antics such as the ability to catch a fly in midair are delightful, but what is most touching is how his courageous spirit teaches Cooper and readers that there are no limits on love or ability. VERDICT With Homer as a messenger for those special-needs cats waiting to be adopted, this lovely human-feline memoir, following in the footsteps of Vicki Myron's best-selling Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, is sure to warm the hearts of all pet lovers. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/09.]—Eva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784152091338
  • Publisher: Hayakawa Publishing/Tsai Fong Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2010
  • Language: Japanese
  • Edition description: Japanese-language Edition
  • Pages: 380

Meet the Author

Gwen Cooper

Gwen Cooper is the author of the novel Diary of a South Beach Party Girl. A Miami native, she spent five years working in nonprofit administration, marketing, and fundraising. She coordinated volunteer activities on behalf of organizations including Pet Rescue, the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, the Miami Rescue Mission, and His House Children’s Home, and initiated Reading Pen Pals, an elementary school-based literacy program in Miami’s Little Haiti. Gwen currently lives in Manhattan with her husband, Laurence.  She also lives with her three perfect cats–Scarlett, Vashti, and Homer—who aren’t impressed with any of it.
 

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


* Socket to Me

Yesterday made the twentieth day that I have been tossing about upon the sea. The winds and waves have taken me all the way from the Ogyian island, and now fate has flung me upon this coast.
--Homer, The Odyssey

Years ago, back when i still had only two cats, i was fond of saying that if I ever adopted a third I would name him Meow Tse-tung and call him "The Chairman" for short.

"Don't look at me like that, it'll be cute," I would insist when my friends regarded me as if I were a loon. "Little Chairman Meow."

The joke was twofold: the name itself, and also the idea that I would adopt a third cat. I might never have taken the monumental step (so it had seemed to me at twenty-four) of adopting two except that I'd been living for three years with Jorge, the man I was sure I'd marry. We'd split up recently, and I had gained custody of our feline offspring--a sweet-tempered, fluffy white beauty named Vashti and a regal, moody gray tabby named Scarlett. I was grateful for my two girls every day, but also painfully aware of the potential complications they would create in my newly single life, complications I had never contemplated back in the days when I'd thought Jorge and I would be together forever.

I was staying in a friend's spare bedroom while I tried to save up for an affordable place to live, for example, but I would never be able to move into a more reasonably priced pet-free building. There was no point in even considering a relationship with a man who had cat allergies. I worked in nonprofit, running _volunteer programs for the United Way of Miami-Dade, and I never had more than fifty dollars in thebank at the end of the month. Nevertheless, routine vaccinations, injuries, and illnesses would have to be paid for by me alone, no matter what their impact on my finances.

"Not to mention the social implications," my best friend, Andrea, would say. "I mean, there are only so many cats you can have when you're twenty-four and single. The neighborhood kids will start calling you Old Widow Cooper and throw rocks at your windows and say things like, That's where Old Widow Cooper, the cat lady, lives. She's craaaaazy . . ."

I knew she was right; I wasn't completely out of touch with reality. In my present circumstances, talking about a third cat was an absurd hypothetical, like daydreaming about what I might buy if I won the lottery.

Then one afternoon, a couple of months after Jorge and I broke up, I got a call from Patty, a young veterinarian only three years older than I was, who was the newest member at the practice that treated Scarlett and Vashti. Patty told me a long, sad story that would have been perfect for a cable movie, if only there were a station called Lifetime for Cats.

An orphaned, four-week-old stray kitten had been abandoned at her office, she said, after a virulent eye infection had required the surgical removal of both his eyes. The couple who had originally brought him in didn't want him. Nor did any of the people on her adoption list, not even the ones who had expressed a specific interest in adopting a handicapped cat. Nobody, it seemed, wanted to face this particular handicap. I was her last call, the last possibility she could think of, before . . .
She didn't finish her sentence, and she didn't have to. I knew there was almost no chance that an eyeless kitten would be adopted from a shelter before his time ran out.

Don't, warned the Greek chorus that lives inside my head. Yes, it's sad but, honestly, you're in no position to do anything about it.

I'd always been an obsessive reader, a passionate lover of books, and I knew the kind...
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Reading Group Guide

The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Gwen Cooper’s Homer’s Odyssey. We hope they will enrich your experience of this captivating memoir.

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