Homer’s Odyssey

People often ask Gwen Cooper what’s wrong with her cat. He may look different because he has no eyes, but as she proves in this book, there isn’t anything wrong with her cat. In fact, he’s extraordinary.

Homer had lots of love to give, even as a two-week-old stray kitten with severely infected eyes. But when his eyes were removed to save his life, the only person who was willing to give him a permanent home was the author. Homer’s Odyssey is their story.

Since the day Gwen met him, Homer has been an inspiration to her. Because of him, she found the courage and the motivation to change her life. With Homer in her life, Gwen went after what she wanted in terms of a new home, a new job, and a husband. There were times it was difficult on her and her family, such as when she moved back home for two years to live with her parents, but she didn’t give up. Homer brought clarity to Gwen’s life. She learned what she needed to live happily, and that she, too, could take leaps of faith like Homer did.

Gwen writes openly about her personal life, sharing the good and the bad. When she writes about Homer, she does it in a way that can make readers laugh and cry on the same page. I felt like I was swallowing a lump in my throat as I read her description of Homer’s first purr amplifying out of his cone, or when she casually reminds us that Homer can’t look out a window to pass the time, or when she recounts the day her date cornered Homer in the living room. After reading instances like these, it feels good to laugh when you come to stories such as the time Gwen opened her front door to let her date in and Homer was standing there with a tampon in his mouth, or how Homer sneaks up on her other cats. The book features dramatic moments and remarkable stories, but one of the best parts of this memoir has to be the final chapter because of the surprising way Gwen’s new husband incorporates her cats into their wedding day.

Homer is proof what blind cats can lead happy and active lives. He loves to greet people. He is eager to make friends with both cats and dogs, and he can always find his way around a room and to his food, water, and litter box. He wakes up happy and never stops wanting to explore. Gwen saved Homer’s life twelve years ago, and he has since literally saved hers – a criminal had no hope with Homer in the bedroom! Although there are black-and-white photographs of Homer at the start of each chapter, Gwen’s story will have many animal and pet lovers searching the Internet for videos of Homer. (At the time of this writing, they can be found).

Gwen Cooper says she is Homer’s eyes. I would add that she is also his voice, and the voice for the entire stray (and blind) cat population out there who need homes and have so much love to give if only someone will give them a home.

Before moving to Manhattan, Gwen Cooper spent most of her life in Miami. She has worked with various nonprofit organizations and in the fields of marketing and administration. She is the author of the book Diary of a South Beach Party Girl.