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Book Review/synopsis



by Gwen Cooper


The phone rang and her life changed. It was the vet calling about an abandoned black kitten who was sightless. Gwen already had two cats and was not looking for another one.  

               This is a true and moving story of a tiny puff of inky fur who had no clue he was blind. Abandoned, he had been saved by a kind vet and then adopted by a young woman who was trying to make ends meet. Being a caring person she was unable to leave the defenseless, or so she thought, kitten to languish indefinitely in the vet’s kennel.  He came home with her. She named him Homer. From the beginning this little ebony kitten dominated her apartment. He sniffed his way around and after a couple of days was romping through it playing with the other two cats, oblivious to the fact he was blind. At night he would crawl up on the bed and sleep with his new owner. He was fearless and loyal living his life to its fullness, brimming with faith and joy and love. He instilled these qualities in Gwen and she marveled at his stamina and insight. They formed a bond like no other.

One evening, when he was older and sleeping on her bed, Gwen was awakened by a strange noise. It was Homer growling fiercely! At her open door was an intruder who was staring at the noise maker! Homer let out a terrifying yell and jumped at the trespasser who turned and ran out of the apartment with the screaming cat trailing close behind. He had most likely saved her life.

Living in the South Beach section of Miami she struggled with low paying jobs at non-profit organizations for several years. Finally, an opportunity presented itself for her to move to NYC with a good paying position. After much hesitation and indecision, due mostly to Homer, she took it and they all moved to New York, Gwen and her three cats.

Through connections she was able to find an affordable, but tiny, studio apartment in lower Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center. It was on the thirty-first floor. What a major adjustment it turned out to be to go from a whole house to a one room living area. Within time they all adapted to big city living.

One day, as she prepared to go to work, Gwen realized she was out of cat food. There was a small grocer across the street, but if she went there she would be late for work at her new job. She debated about letting the cats wait to be fed until she could come back at lunchtime. She decided that wouldn’t be right and went down to get the food. She returned and as she filled their bowls she heard a sort of muffled “boom” and her building shook a little. It was Sept. 11, 2001.

Shortly after, the sound and shaking were repeated! The cats were in a frenzy, running and hiding! She didn’t want to call work saying she wouldn’t be in because her cats were upset so she left them and started off to her job. Once on the street the horror of what had happened was before her. She walked to her nearby office in a trance. They had to vacate and her boss offered that they both go across the river and stay in a hotel. They did and the following days became a nightmare for Gwen when she couldn’t go back to her apartment to rescue her cats. By then they were without food and water. As the days passed she became more and more frantic when she was not allowed to go to her building since the whole area had been closed off by police and military.

This is a virtual account by someone who was there and lived through a different horror – one of collateral damage caused by the terrorist attack! The reader becomes enmeshed in the futility of the circumstances, of her trying to reach her pets! What would became of Homer and her other two cats?

Two months later she lost her job, a direct result of the terrorist attack which dissolved her company. Yet, she decided to remain in New York even though family and friends tried to convince her to return to Miami. A major reason she decided to stay was because she had met her future New Yorker husband a month before the fatal World Trade Center assault.

This is a good book to read in September, a reminder of 9-11. – Marilu Shellie

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