A simple, heartwarming story of continued companionship and mutual trust and respect. Though the book is averagely written,...



The continuing story of a London busker and his feline friend, Bob.

For those who read A Street Cat Named Bob (2013) and wondered what happened to the dynamic duo of James, a former drug addict and vendor for the street newspaper The Big Issue, and his cat companion, Bob, look no farther. Bowen expands on the story of his former life as a drug addict and the many ways Bob continues to be his faithful friend. "I always said that we were partners, that we needed each other equally,” he writes. “Deep down I believed that wasn't really true. I felt like I needed him more." When Bowen was struck by an unrelenting pain in his leg, making it impossible to stand or walk, Bob was there to help him through it. When the author had a severe chest cold, once again, Bob indicated through his small gestures, like resting his head on Bowen's chest, that he understood Bowen was ill and empathized with him. Seeing a stranger overdose in his own apartment stairwell jolted Bowen to fight his own cravings. "An addict is always living on a knife's edge…all [the destructive behavior] needed was one moment of weakness and I could be on the way down again,” he writes. While Bowen steadily worked his way out of addiction, silly cat moments, such as Bob's fascination with packaging, especially bubble wrap and boxes, kept him amused and happy. But he still had self-doubts about his life. Nosy strangers insisted Bob was being maltreated, and other vendors accused Bowen of breaking vending rules, which caused his license to be suspended. Then, everything changed with the unexpected success of his first book, which Bowen acknowledges is entirely due to his best friend, Bob.

A simple, heartwarming story of continued companionship and mutual trust and respect. Though the book is averagely written, it is sure to be another best-seller.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1250046321

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.



In her first nonfiction book, novelist Grande (Dancing with Butterflies, 2009, etc.) delves into her family’s cycle of separation and reunification.

Raised in poverty so severe that spaghetti reminded her of the tapeworms endemic to children in her Mexican hometown, the author is her family’s only college graduate and writer, whose honors include an American Book Award and International Latino Book Award. Though she was too young to remember her father when he entered the United States illegally seeking money to improve life for his family, she idolized him from afar. However, she also blamed him for taking away her mother after he sent for her when the author was not yet 5 years old. Though she emulated her sister, she ultimately answered to herself, and both siblings constantly sought affirmation of their parents’ love, whether they were present or not. When one caused disappointment, the siblings focused their hopes on the other. These contradictions prove to be the narrator’s hallmarks, as she consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence. Even as a girl, Grande understood the redemptive power of language to define—in the U.S., her name’s literal translation, “big queen,” led to ridicule from other children—and to complicate. In spelling class, when a teacher used the sentence “my mamá loves me” (mi mamá me ama), Grande decided to “rearrange the words so that they formed a question: ¿Me ama mi mamá? Does my mama love me?”

A standout immigrant coming-of-age story.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6177-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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