Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The World According to Bob - James Bowen

'Someone had come up with the rather bright idea of having a paw-shaped stamp so that Bob could also 'sign' each book.'


You might or might not remember when I read A Street Cat Named Bob and really liked it. Well, anyway, because of that I decided that reading the sequel would be smashing. It kind of wasn't. I read this book on our trip to Isle of Skye last week and on the bright side, it was a very easy read and fun to continue every time.

The first book has James meet Bob and the two of them slowly change each other's lives for the better. This being the sequel, I only had one wish: for it to continue from where the previous one ended. It kind of does this, telling random events until ending in March 2012 when A Street Cat Named Bob makes it to the stores. However, these are short stories more than anything, and at times they're not in a chronological order and repeat some things. Additionally, sometimes he comments something like 'it was just like a youtube video', but it's just never as funny when you try to describe it, is it? Because of this, sometimes Bob's cute little shenanigans just didn't do it for me.

Most of all, my problem with this book was that it lacked the heart of the first one. It felt less sincere, in a way, because it was clear that James was observing Bob's fun mannerisms and writing them down as fun little tidbits with no real aim or a story to go through. Could I really judge a book based on a man's life for lacking a story, however? Not really. But that's the reason why I would have preferred this to be a more chronological story without all the disorienting jumps back and forth; I believe it would have made this more grounded.

The book comes with cute illustrations
at chapter breaks that relate to the
chapters! Amazing!
The World According to Bob is feel-good book, perhaps even more so than the first one. James and Bob are in a better place even though they're still selling The Big Issue on the streets, and I'm very happy about that. James' drug-induced past was a harrowing read at best and horrible at worst, and I don't mind that this book has less of returning to that. And I also understand that this had to be written while the craze from the first one was still running high, but in its heart, it was a bit of a disappointment. I'm sorry I don't have more to say about this, really, but there wasn't much that stuck with me. The quote I picked I picked because I was reaching the end with nothing to really say about it.

I'll read the Christmas book for sure as well (but that better be at Christmas!) - while this wasn't what I wanted, I still liked it. And if James and Bob ever write anything else, I'll read that too. I'll give this like... 3 and a half out of 5.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 35: There's a proper noun in a book's name!

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