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....
Reading Group Guide
1. Homer teaches Gwen many life lessons. Which would you say was most transformative in her life? Why?
2. What makes Homer such a special cat? His personality, his challenges, his circumstances, or all three?
3. Homer's life has often revolved around taking a leap of faith. What universal themes, such as this, does Homer’s story evoke?
4. What do you make of the quotes from The Odyssey that start each chapter?
5. Gwen comes to New York looking for success: in business, in life, in love. Was she right to worry about being a single gal with three cats? How does Homer help pave the way?
6. How much of a role do the Miami and New York City settings play in this book?
7. Which of Homer's abilities did you find most surprising? Why?
8. Has reading this book changed the way you think about animals with special needs? If so, in what way? What about your assumptions about people with special needs?
9. What’s your favorite Homer story? Which one made you laugh the most? And which was the most touching?
10. Do any of Homer’s habits remind you of cats you’ve known or owned?
About the Author
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.
"A wonderful book for animal lovers."--Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation "Entertaining, heart-warming, and sometimes heart-wrenching....Throughout, Homer entertains with his insatiable curiosity and joie de vivre...I couldn't put the book down and I read half the passages aloud to my husband. I guarantee you'll find the book as engaging as I did."--Catster
"Moving and inspiring . . . a three-hankie tale of life and the love that can exist between owner and pet."--Florida Times-Union
"This memoir about adopting a special-needs kitten teaches that sometimes in life, you have to take a blind leap."--People
"Cooper is a genial writer with both a sense of humor and a gift for conveying the inner essence of an animal. . . . The indefatigable feline should be an inspiration to us all."--The Christian Science Monitor
"A must-read for anyone who has ever loved an animal."--Free Lance-Star (VA)
"A marvelous book! Moving, insightful and often hilarious, Homer's Odyssey is about a blind cat with a spirit of epic proportions. Read and rejoice!"--Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig
"Delightful...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."--Library Journal (starred review)
"Heartwarming and entertaining."--PEOPLE Pets
"A wonderful story celebrating the profound bond that can form between feline and human, Homer's Odyssey is an inspiring read, and a perfect holiday gift for any cat lovers on your list."--Feline Wellness
"It took only a glance at the foreword, and before I knew it I was devouring the whole thing like a warm brownie sundae....It was Homer who most often proved to be the hero, once even saving Cooper's life when an intruder broke into her apartment. (This story alone is worth the price of the book.)"--Christian Science Monitor
"A guaranteed hit with any cat lover...but the account of Cooper's struggles with her career and love life will also appeal to readers of similar memoirs about twentysomething women (Julie and Julia, for example), as well as to the growing audience for stories of challenging pets of all kinds (Marley and Me)."--Booklist
"Tender and affecting."--Publishers Weekly
"Touching . . . one not to miss."--USA Today
"Homer's Odyssey will make you jump for joy!"--Rita Mae Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Cat of the Century
"I am certain it would be impossible to meet Homer without falling in love with him and it is just as difficult to read this loving account without coming away with a renewed faith in the unique bond that can sometimes arise between two alien species. Gwen Cooper writes with humor, with wit, with candor and most of all with irresistible warmth for this astonishing little feline who will steal your heart."--Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, New York Times bestselling author of The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats and When Elephants Weep
"An inspiring story of two souls, one human and one feline, who face significant obstacles on their quest for love. A charming and sometimes humorous tale of what everyday courage and perseverance can look like. And to anyone who knows cats, it comes as no surprise that it is often the feline who leads the way."--Susan Richards, author of Chosen By a Horse and Chosen Forever
"Homer's Odyssey will capture your heart and enrich your soul. Homer's courageous spirit and triumphant optimism are an inspiration to all who share his story."--Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine, ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, and author of Vet Confidential
"Homer's Odyssey eloquently demonstrates that the bond between felines and their humans is requisite for our enlightenment."--Jim Edgar, author of My Cat Hates You and Bad Cat
"A heart-warming and charming memoir of how adopting a sightless kitten brought joy and love (and new direction) into a woman's life."--Shelf Awareness
"Irresistible."--The Toronto Sun
From the Hardcover edition.